Why marketing teams underperform and what to do about it

This post is by Zena Churchill, a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Over the past 20 years, Zena has worked for some of the biggest international and national brands. Having worked both agency and client side, Zena has strong insight and experience across most facets of marketing, specialising in media, strategy and BTL.

Marketing teams image

Under the guise of research, I recently found myself watching reruns of The Simpsons. It was a mini-marathon of episodes and right in the middle of them all, The Simpsons script writers gave me the biggest belly laugh I had had in a while when Moe & Lenny had this conversation:


There’s something in our house.

Moe Szyslak:

Let’s put a pick axe in its brain!


You’re in marketing. Why do you even have a pick axe?

Moe Szyslak:

If you were in marketing, you’d know.

“The Simpsons: Four Great Women and a Manicure (#20.20)”(2009)

I laughed hard not only because I have worked with companies to help remove the need for pick axes in marketing, but I have also worked in marketing departments where I needed to carry a pick axe.

When your marketing department is made to feel like it has to carry a pick axe to get results, there’s something seriously wrong. And the fault does not necessarily lay at the feet of the poor pick axe carrying suckers in marketing, although it may.

Over the years TrinityP3 has conducted a vast number of marketing strategic alignments, where we work with a business to uncover and help them understand whether or not their marketing structures are set up in a way that will support the business to deliver on their strategic goals.

Or, sometimes, we help them understand why their marketing team just isn’t performing, and the evidence shows that more often than not when a marketing department is underperforming (and armed), the reason is one of two: Continue reading “Why marketing teams underperform and what to do about it”

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How to manage the politics of an agency pitch

This post is by Stephan Argent, CEO of Argedia Group and a member of the Marketing FIRST Forum, the global consulting collective co-founded by TrinityP3

Corporate politics on an agency pitch is something people don’t often talk about and rarely like to admit.  But like it or not, politics can – and do – have an effect on some pitch processes.

Agency pitch politics

While politics may be obvious in some cases, it may also be subtle but potentially just as damaging. Some of the hallmarks and pitfalls of an agency search process that is experiencing political influence could be some or all of the following:

  • Lengthy long listsLong-lists that comprise more than twelve agencies are either a sign of uncertainty around the kind of agency being searched for, or the process is being pressured to include additional agencies beyond those recommended.
  • Last minute inclusion. Agencies that are suddenly added at the eleventh hour at the request of others that weren’t part of your recommended list, potentially opens the door for further last-minute inclusions, diminishing morale on your team and creating uncertainty among participating agencies.
  • Incumbent agency uncertainty. Adding the incumbent agency just because they have a good relationship with someone of influence, or because you don’t want to hurt feelings will only exacerbate a difficult situation when it comes time to choose your winning agency and waste time and effort on both sides.
  • Keeping up appearances. Adding an agency for appearances sake, just to appease a request internally or externally, wastes both the agency’s time and effort, and the time and effort of your search team to evaluate their capabilities. And when it comes to agency search, appearances need to be traded in for results.

In short, agency pitches operating under the weight of political influence or uncertainty can result in too many agencies participating, internal teams focusing on evaluating agencies that aren’t right for your needs or, worst of all, the wrong agencies on the list completely.

OK, so that’s the bad news on agency politics. The good news is there are some things you can do as a marketer to help guard against politics creeping in or indeed swamping your pitch process: Continue reading “How to manage the politics of an agency pitch”

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Digital assessment for a new retail concept store in South Korea – case study

Client Category – FMCG

Challenging problem:

TrinityP3 was approached by a global FMCG client to assess a new concept store, in South Korea.

The new flagship store is being targeted to students, those in their 20s and 30s, singles and couples, with the hope of reinvigorating the brand’s world and becoming a major social and entertainment experience in the city.

Digital assessment

The client had commenced the store build, however the concept involved major digital technology, hardware, data integrations and content creation including:

  • digital touch screens/signage/kiosks/walls/maps/self-service menus
  • m-commerce and event/promotion App
  • Point Of Sale (POS) integration and database builds
  • Loyalty program and event messaging engine
  • QR code and barcode image syncing
  • beacon proximity technology and pre-ordering
  • digital ‘smart’ juke box with admin console, user play reservation and push messaging notifications before song requests play
  • 360 degree video
  • smart phone controllable LED lights with internal camera syncing
  • content micro site and library
  • e-gifting
  • re-marketing strategy
  • and as you can imagine, major social media integrations.

The digital elements combined totaled almost USD$700,000.

The client wanted to confirm whether their digital agency was charging fair value given the 4-month project lead-time.

Creative Solution:

Given the project was underway, we applied our digital assessment solution to calculate all areas of the agency’s services from a resource, timing and hourly rate perspective.

This allowed us to identify how the agency was charging across each project (as well as the total project), how resources were being applied (down to a percentage FTE level) and whether the client was receiving fair value.    

We also benchmarked the agency rates against our database of South Korean standard agency rates with Ad Cost Checker.


The digital assessment involved collating all background documentation from the agency including: Continue reading “Digital assessment for a new retail concept store in South Korea – case study”

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Managing Marketing – Sustainable marketing, what does it mean for marketers?

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Christopher Sewell, Managing Director of the Gaia Partnership chats with Darren on the benefits of sustainable marketing and the opportunities for companies committed to sustainability. Also discussed are the challenges and the considerations when embraced as a strategy.

Christoper Sewell

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on Soundcloud or iTunes



Welcome. This week I’m talking to a long term friend and colleague, Christopher Sewell, who’s the CEO of Gaia Partnership, the creators of the C02 Counter. Hi Chris.


Hi Darren, thanks for having me.


It’s a pleasure. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while because I think it was eight years ago, you started talking about sustainability and especially sustainability in business and then in marketing. Can you explain to me again, exactly what you mean by sustainability.


In a context of when we started talking about this, it was when I first met you and it was around measurement. We were trying to put all of these measurements and a matrix around how to make marketing better. The one thing that seemed to be missing was what we were doing about sustainability in the marketing field.

Lots of green products were out there and lots of green advertising was going on but there was no metric that said that this was actually a well-produced green product or a sustainable product so that was the challenge that we had.


Yeah, that’s right, because at the time, there was a lot of discussion and conversation in the media. I think we were leading up to Copenhagen, wasn’t it?


It was around about that time in Australia, there was a lot of interest in the environment. It was a bi-partisan agreement that there was something that was going to happen. Everyone was aligned so all the businesses got aligned as well, because there was going to be some policy coming into the market place which would force change so everyone was getting on board so it was a good time.

Green washing and offsetting is not sustainability


Yeah and I remember because there was a conversation we had at that time about green washing. It had almost got to the point where, everyone was wanting to be environmentally responsible.

The cynicism had crept in about people deliberately green washing what they were saying about their product’s environmental sustainability. To the point that people were calling on them, right? Continue reading “Managing Marketing – Sustainable marketing, what does it mean for marketers?”

Posted in green marketing & sustainability, industry news & trends, Podcasts, print production, return on investment, social media & digital marketing, strategic management | Leave a comment

5 steps to finding an insightful market researcher

This post is by Jason Dunstone the Managing Director of Square Holes, a progressive full-service market research agency established in Adelaide in 2004, and now with a Melbourne office. 

Impactful marketing starts with an insight. Be it a spark of creative genius written on a napkin or inspired by deep exploration of the category and its consumers.

I’m here today to argue that the best insight is found at the intersect between intuitive thinking and analytical thinking, and those most adept at finding this sweet spot are professional market researchers. I’ll also give some tips on finding the right market research partner(s) for you.

Market Research Partner

Just as professional marketers are the most proficient at pulling consumer insight into a powerful brand and marketing strategy, and creative agencies are likely best at building impactful campaigns, market researchers are the masters of consumer insight.

Yes, the tools available to DIY are seemingly making it easier for any monkey to do a survey. And, outsourcing market research to a professional market researcher does come at a cost. However, if done right the reduced risk and return from market research is well and truly worth it.

Market researchers are the independent, expert voice of the consumer. They know the best way to find, collect, analyse and report robust consumer insight. 

Consumer insight

Market researchers also provide protection against the oh-so-scary Privacy Act, and collect, store and use consumer information to the highest legal, quality and ethical standards.

If selected right, market researchers not only inspire strategic insight, but provide protection against legal infringements and ethical dilemmas as to how consumer data is collected and used.

Hopefully, most readers already invest in professional market research as a critical part of their marketing program. Be this deep dive studies to understand the category and its consumers, testing and refining of strategic concepts and/or monitoring the impact of marketing efforts, lessons and opportunities.

There is, however, an undercurrent of marketing mavericks preferring to go solely with their intuitive gut feel or avoid using professional market researchers. Be this not knowing how to find insightful market researchers, lack of value previously or an absence of care about what real people think, do and want.

The critical factor is finding the right market researcher. Below is a simple five step list to help find the right fit for you.

So, how can marketing mavericks find insightful market researchers? Continue reading “5 steps to finding an insightful market researcher”

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Case Study: A FMCG Media Agency Contract and Remuneration Assessment

Client Category – FMCG

Challenging Problem:

The procurement team of a large organisation in the FMCG sector had recently initiated an internal evaluation of the incumbent media agency, from a financial perspective.

The media agency handled a number of significant brands across the business, and had recently submitted a revised fee and structure proposal for consideration.

Media agency contract and remuneration assessment

To conduct a robust evaluation, a number of hurdles had to be overcome:

  • Long history with the incumbent, resulting in aging contractual documentation
  • Fluctuation in scope and requirements between initial contract signing and the present day
  • Lack of direct media agency experience within the procurement or marketing team that enabled a truly objective evaluation to occur
  • A sense of ‘not knowing what to look for’ in the evermore complex world of media agencies, particularly in light of recent news articles and opinion pieces explaining the problem of ‘lack of transparency’ across media agencies in general.


TrinityP3 conducted a Contract and Remuneration Assessment focused specifically on the incumbent media agency.


In order to provide the review of the market, TrinityP3 used the following process: Continue reading “Case Study: A FMCG Media Agency Contract and Remuneration Assessment”

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BINGO – Digital marketing terminology is out of control

This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is a lateral and innovative thinker with a passion for refocusing business teams and strategies; creating visionary, data driven communication plans; and making sense of a more complex digital marketing environment.

SOS – shiny object syndrome

Beware the shiny new digital services.

In 2015 the trend continues with many clients dealing directly with technology vendors, digital service start-ups, and other service providers.

Why deal through mass advertising agencies and communication groups when they don’t necessarily have the specialist expertise and mark up external services?

digital marketing shiny object

Despite these direct deals, many CMOs have come to realize that this approach only adds to the confusion.

“Overpromises”, being “blinded by bells and whistles”, “question marks over shiny new toys”, and “duplication in architecture and effort” were some of the common words in conversation with these CMOs when they contacted us for help.

At TrinityP3 we make it our job to assess the digital landscape and keep up to speed with the myriad of service options available in the market. We don’t profess to know absolutely every digital player, however we do have significant detail on most.

What are you really looking for when it comes to digital marketing? Continue reading “BINGO – Digital marketing terminology is out of control”

Posted in data & direct marketing, industry news & trends, interesting observations, social media & digital marketing | 1 Comment

Managing Marketing – Public sector marketing and the impact of digital

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Alun Probert, Group Head at GovCom Group talks with Darren about the role of marketing in Government and the changes being driven by technology to the Government communication process and the increased focus on customers from the Government perspective.

Alun Probert

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on Soundcloud or iTunes



Welcome. Today I am talking with Alun Probert, who is the Group Head of GovCom Group, and Alun is actually a person that has incredible experience in marketing, advertising and media, but most recently from a very specific public sector point of view.

Welcome Alun.


Thanks Darren, welcome too. Good to be here.


The interesting thing is this idea of public sector versus government, because I noticed your group is called GovCom. Government Communications, I imagine.


That’s right.


In actual fact, the implications for government actually spread further over the public sector. Don’t they?

People in government tend to see themselves as different


I think they do. I spent the last 10 years, working in a communications job in government. For somebody that has spent the last 25 years working effectively as a media owner, it was a real poacher turned gamekeeper situation.

I was in control of an 18 million dollar advertising spend and working on 14, 15, 16 different subject areas, so a really interesting variety.

Now that now I’ve moved on, I think the biggest effect of that job was that there seems to be this frame around the way that the public sector did things. It was somehow different to how private sector did things.

During the 25 years I worked in the private sector, I never had a conversation about how the government did stuff. It’s a really interesting thing that people in government tend to see themselves as different.


Yeah, it’s true. Isn’t it? There is a very different mentality or even set of requirements, to go between private sector and public sector. Isn’t there? Continue reading “Managing Marketing – Public sector marketing and the impact of digital”

Posted in media planning & buying, Podcasts, public sector, social media & digital marketing, strategic management | Leave a comment

Assess your agency’s performance with accurate agency benchmarks

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

Agency remuneration benchmarking can be quite a controversial topic, especially for agencies. But it is also a point of contention for procurement and consultants.

You see there are many people who purport to have robust agency benchmarks and will talk about their thousands of benchmark data samples.  In fact it can ironically become a game of “who has the biggest pool of data wins” as tall tales are told about their data samples in an effort to get credibility.

Of course this is one extreme end of the industry offering. At the other end there are a selection of  procurement teams and one-man band consultants who have a data sample of one, or sometimes less, who are simply ‘benchmarking’ the agency against the agency they used to work for or the incumbent agency or a friend’s agency or even the imaginary agency they made up.

To eliminate all doubt and because benchmarking is important and deserves to be managed professionally, we invested significantly in developing the online Ad Cost Checker rates benchmarking system. You can read about the system and how it works here.

Not all agency benchmarks are the same

I remember discussing the benchmark sample process with a competitor overseas. They had built up an impressive range of benchmark data through benchmarking some major global clients and their network agency agreements. Continue reading “Assess your agency’s performance with accurate agency benchmarks”

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The importance of business ethics – goodbye to corporate greed?

This post is by Jeremy Richman, Director and Founder of EyeLevel Communications – a thought-leadership video platform described by some as a TED for business.

None of that Kumbaya bullshit please!

Seemed like a good idea at the time. Really?

So here we go again. More examples hitting the headlines of corporate greed gone wrong, where the culture of chasing short-term gains and instant profits has brought about daft decisions, people breaking the law and ignoring the lines that define acceptable conduct.

Importance of Business Ethics

The results have been disastrous. Volkswagen has so deeply trashed a reputation for integrity built over decades that the chairman declared the scandal could pose “an existence-threatening crisis for the company”.

Closer to home, the conduct of the Greyhound racing industry (the repugnant practices of live baiting and killing 13,000-17,000 young dogs each year) has led to warnings that it may be shut down.

7-Eleven’s shameless exploitation of employees has come back to bite so hard that banks have stopped lending to new franchisees.

Corruption at FIFA has dulled major brand-owners’ appetite to be associated with that organisation and its events. It’s not hard to imagine that the FIFA premium will be replaced by the FIFA discount.

Not that long ago Rupert had to tell the world that he was humbled then go and switch off the lights at NOTW; at one time the biggest selling English-language newspaper on the planet.

And, despite over a decade having passed, the fall of Enron – whose collapse dominoed Arthur Andersen (once the world’s biggest professional services firm) and caused that firm to surrender its licenses to practice as Certified Public Accountants – will be a feature of business school textbooks for a while yet.

Sorry Gordon, it turns out that greed may not be all that good after all. Which perhaps explains why a far more attractive counterweight is building mass on the other side of the scales. There are growing indicators that companies adhering to good ethics in business are winning and it’s a view that is shared across industries and geographies. Continue reading “The importance of business ethics – goodbye to corporate greed?”

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