Should you outsource your content marketing or do it in-house?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With 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.

This is the fourth in a series of posts based on the transcript from the video - How to overcome the challenges of content marketing - from the May 2014 seminar, How to be an Effective Content Marketer.

Featuring a number of brand marketers who have established successful content marketing processes, this panel will discuss the challenges associated with content marketing and share strategies to overcome them.

MC:

Featured panellists:

Last time the panel talked about how to manage risk with your content marketing strategy and what they learned from mistakes made on their content marketing journey.

In today’s post, the marketing panel discuss whether to outsource their content marketing or do it in-house. They also share their experiences on the best ways they have found to carry out their content marketing strategies.

What is the optimal way to do content marketing?

Ed:
I’d now like to talk about structures and processes so, what does the panel think is the optimal way to do content marketing? Do you need to do it in-house? Do you need to outsource it? Is it a combination of both? What’s the best solution? What are your experiences?

Luana:
In our case, we’ve adopted a combination so we’ve got external agencies working with us and that’s very important because it does help us with strategy and editorial calendar and have it organised and then making sure that we always have content in place and that we stick to what we were trying to achieve.

We are also trying to drive that internally very strongly, but internally is a cultural shift and internally it does take a lot more time. But it’s important to try and bring everybody in the organisation with us so it’s really trying to get the right mix.

How do you make an internal cultural shift?

Ed:
How do you make that cultural shift internally?
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The inherent danger of the creative beauty parade pitch process

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.

Since 2007 we have recommended that advertisers should NOT use the Creative Beauty Parade or the Creative shoot Out (Otherwise known as speculative creative pitch) to select an agency, but instead we recommend selecting agencies through a process of Strategic Workshops. Previously I have written about the many benefits of the strategic workshop including the opportunity to get alignment with your agency roster and alignment within your own organization.

But recent experiences have shown that it is perhaps time to highlight the inherent dangers in marketers using the creative pitch as their selection process.

In love

Why is the pitch so popular?

There appears to be a common misconception that when marketers are selecting an agency they are actually selecting the work they do. They see the work output as the only requirement. Ultimately it is, but this is only valid if the relationship is to produce one idea or one output.

It is common for Government to want to select an agency to develop a single campaign concept or for commercial ventures to select an agency for a particular project such as a property development or an IPO.

But in fact most agencies are selected to form an on-going relationship with many outcomes and outputs to many and varied briefs. But this does not stop marketers making their selection on the results of one brief. In my experience this is because:

  1. They believe this is the most common practice and therefore the best practice offered by the industry.
  2. There is little at risk for the marketer as they can point to the creative work as justification for their selection.
  3. It requires relatively little effort or commitment from the marketer as they simply hand the brief to a number of agencies and select the idea they like.

But the fact is that the creative pitch process is only useful if you are buying the concept you select as part of the process. If you want an agency to work with you and produce a range of successful outputs over a period of time then the process is flawed.

Why is the creative pitch so flawed?

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Are you producing television commercials on a regional basis?

This post is by Clive Duncan a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. As a Director and DOP he has an appreciation for the value of great creative and outstanding production values, while also recognising the importance of delivering value for money solutions to the advertiser.

In the past I used to travel to Asia as a cameraman and director to shoot television commercials. I marveled at the seemingly endless stream of TVCs to be shot – a different version of the same TVC for every country.

Women Shopping in Asia

Then one morning I woke up to the fact that my assistant would soon be doing my job at half the price with no travel costs, and this soon came to pass.

I still remained in Asia, firstly as an operations manager for a large multinational production and post-production facility and then as a marketer for Australian production and post-production facilities. When that gig came to an end I worked for a major advertising agency in Australia as a TVC producer.

Adapting regional television commercials to suit any country

I soon learned that the more forward thinking advertisers were shooting regional TVCs that could be adapted for any country with a simple voice over change. I started to look a lot more closely at what worked regionally, and came to the conclusion that the basic messages of advertising are universal.

Of course regional TVCs cannot be produced from any old TVC script; they had to be crafted specifically for the purpose. The agency I worked for had some very clever creative teams and we produced some very effective and clever regional TVCs.

We also produced a real stinker, primarily because our client wanted to use a jingle written in English that did not translate well into Hindi or Bahasa, or any other language for that matter. In the same commercial, we also had problems with the acting.
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3 questions for TrinityP3 digital and data expert – Anton Buchner

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.

As TrinityP3 continues to grow, so does the team of professionals within the company as does the depth of experience and expertise. Therefore I want to take this opportunity to introduce some of the core team members and their expertise, before having them answer three questions on what they do being:

  1. What are the challenges facing marketers today in their area of expertise?
  2. How does TrinityP3 assist marketers in this area?
  3. What advice would they give to any marketer facing these challenges?

When it comes to digital, data and content, there is none with more breadth of experience than TrinityP3 Senior Consultant, Anton Buchner. Anton is a self confessed Direct Marketer who really understands the interplay between data and technology.

You can tell he knows his way around digital, because he has a unique way of cutting through the jargon and the clutter and giving you what you need to know in plain English. Certainly someone you want on your side when confronted by a digital pretender, desperately trying to confuse you with technical weasel words.

Anton works with TrinityP3′s clients to help them integrate their customer data and analytics into their digital strategy to ensure the structure and process is aligned to your customer. Here he talks about some of the challenges he sees marketers grappling with in regards to digital and data and how TrinityP3 can help.

Q1: What are the challenges facing customer centric relationship marketers?

The biggest challenges are two-fold.

The first one is really understanding what customers want and that sounds easy, but it’s very hard for big businesses to understand, listen, monitor and really interpret what customers want from a business. We’re so used to pushing out products at customers, but when we stop to really listen and unearth what customers want, that’s the trick.

The second challenge is internally within the business, is really getting the business leaders and the managers within divisions of a business to really understand it’s a people centric culture and people drive business.  And if you can really harness what the internal culture is moving from product to people, then we change our mindset to become customer centric.

So it’s moving from a product culture to a people culture that’s a massive change and challenge for most businesses today.

Q2: How can TrinityP3 assist with data, digital and improved processes?

TrinityP3 helps on two levels.
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Why lower agency retainers lead to higher production costs

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.

It is common to have creative agency, and increasingly digital agency fees, broken into two component parts. First is the fee or retainer paid to the agency for account management, strategy and creative ideas up to approved concept. Second are the fees to be paid for the production or implementation of these approved concepts in the form of production or technology build and project management.

While a lot of time is placed on ensuring the agency retainer or fees are set at the right level at the time of appointment, less focus is placed on the production costs, except when there is a perception that the production costs are higher than expected.

In our work benchmarking agency remuneration, both the retainer and production fees, we have noticed that more often than not, where there are lower than benchmark agency fees paid for the former there is higher than benchmark fees for the latter. In other words, where fees have been squeezed, production costs flourish.

Elevator Button up and down directionHere is the hypothesis as to why.

Fees and retainers are incredibly competitive

Many agency retainers are set at the time the account is pitched and awarded. The tender process is a highly competitive time and there is significant commercial pressure bought to bear on the successful agency to propose the best possible price.

This is where the simplicity in the way the agency retainer is calculated magnifies the impact of this competitive pressure. If you remember, the agency retainer is basically calculated on the direct salary cost of the agency resources being retained multiplied by the overhead and profit mark up.

There are basically a few moving parts to be negotiated. From the procurement perspective the purpose of the negotiation is to maximise the number of resources and minimise the cost by negotiating down the salary cost and the overhead and profit multiple. In fact a procurement director in Canada once explained to me that we made the process far to complex with our benchmarks to calculate the resources required, as he believed his job was to maximise the resources and minimise the costs. And he did.

In the face of potentially losing a pitch, it is not unknown for an agency to accept this pressure and minimise their fee to a commercially unsustainable level, rather than losing the pitch and all revenue. Besides they are hoping to make it up in the production area anyway.

Fees and retainers are regularly reviewed

Then once the retainer is set and locked into the contract, it may not be reviewed at all during the life of the contract, unless of course the marketer wants to effect a simple and effective cost reduction. It is far easier to enter into a negotiation with the agency on the fee as this is a one off process that will yield an immediate result over the remaining life of the contract.

Of course it could be that the agency requests a review of the retainer, with the view of increasing the payment beyond the unsustainable level they accepted to secure the business at the time of the tender.

But any one-off increases will potentially leave the marketer feeling that the agency is expensive. And besides, in these circumstances it is up to the agency to prove that the fee is unsustainable and all they have by way of proof is the agency timesheets.

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When it comes to media there are a lot of elephants in the room

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

If you’re in any way associated with the marketing business, you’ve likely been aware of the unprecedented shift in the media business in the last few years.

No matter where you look, you can’t help noticing media has been undergoing a radical transformation – from the way it’s delivered, to who’s delivering it, how it’s planned, how it’s bought, how it’s sold, how it’s measured and how it’s really paid for.

Put another way, we’ve got a room full of proverbial elephants.

Media agency elephants in the room

So, whether you’re an advertiser, media owner, media or advertising agency – media is a hot topic. And with billions of dollars at stake, you need to understand what the elephants are doing and what they mean for your business.

Here are five big pachyderms to think about:

Elephant #1: Programmatic Buying

The automation of buying and how the media business uses real time systems and algorithms to automate buying of media, has become a hot topic in and of itself. While programmatic buying technically cuts out a lot of manual work, there are any number of technologies (and companies) that take their fees or commission along the way.

Why it’s an issue: Ask yourself how hard your advertising dollars are really working? And how much of your total buy is really going towards the space you’re buying versus how much is being skimmed off before it actually gets there?

Elephant #2: Transparency

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Four thoughts on agency / advertiser relationships – Jetstar and The Royals

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.

The relationships between advertisers and their agencies are becoming more complicated and difficult to define. But when they work well this junction of creativity and commerce can have a significant impact on both parties.

But what are the key criteria or ingredients for high performing advertiser and agency relationships? What are the challenges in managing these relationships? What advice do you have in regards to managing the relationship? And what changes will these relationships need to face in the foreseeable future?

4 thoughts on advertiser / agency relationships starts here with Jetstar and their agency The Royals.

Jetstar: Peita Golden, Regional Manager Marketing and PR & Ingrid Nason, Group Marketing Manager, PR and Sponsorships

The Royals: Andrew Siwka, Director

Royals_Jetstar

1. What are the key ingredients for a great client–agency relationship?

The Royals:

  • Being invaluable: Agencies need to be better at ensuring that they are adding serious value to a Client’s business with business building ideas and strategic thinking that creates competitive advantage.
  • Transparency / Honesty: Honesty and transparency is liberating for any relationship. They serve to focus energies on the things that make a genuine difference to a client’s business.
  • Trust: Trust creates confidence and confidence makes great things happen.

Jetstar:

  • Good energy: Aligned in our thinking and the way of doing things. It is not a battle getting things done, making changes or discussing differences.
  • Honesty: This is what sets a platform for transparency and trust
  • Trust: Allows you the confidence to take a ‘risk’ which is often what allows you to arrive at substantially better outcomes

2. What frustrates you most managing agency relationships?

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Let’s put the creative agency selection process out of its (and our) misery

This post is by Debra Giampoli, Director, Global Strategic Agency Relations, at Mondelez International, where she helps Business Unit and Marketing leaders across the globe find external marketing resource partners.

Everybody in marketing (and procurement) knows what to do when a brand team needs a new agency.

blank mind map or flowchart on blackboard

The “go-to” process for a new agency

The “go-to” process hasn’t changed since before most marketers were born:

Step 1: Brainstorm a list of potential agencies

Step 2: Send an RFI to each agency (usually via email), requesting many pages of factual information to be submitted (also by email), usually within 2-3 weeks

Step 3: Use the RFI responses to narrow the list of candidates

Step 4: Meet with each of the short list agencies to review their capabilities

Step 5: Brief each candidate on an assignment that they will have 3 weeks to complete  with full-blown creative ideas, including how each would be executed through all media

Step 6: Choose the agency whose ideas are best liked by members of the selection team; award the agency the business, finalize the contract and the compensation

Step 7: Re-brief the agency on the “real work” that needs to be done for the brand, and have the agency start the work.

This approach, for all its popularity and rigor, often fails to result in the outcome both sides expect. Six months later, after the first round of work has been delivered, it’s not uncommon that the client doesn’t like the agency, the agency isn’t that crazy about the client, both sides are frustrated, the work isn’t great, and everybody’s wondering what happened.

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3 questions for TrinityP3 media planning and buying expert – Stephen Wright

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.

As TrinityP3 continues to grow, so does the team of professionals within the company and the depth of experience and expertise. Therefore I want to take this opportunity to introduce some of the core team members and their expertise, before having them answer three questions on what they do being:

  1. What are the challenges facing marketers today in their area of expertise?
  2. How does TrinityP3 assist marketers in this area?
  3. What advice would they give to any marketer facing these challenges?

TrinityP3 Business Director Stephen Wright originally joined TrinityP3 and built the media consultancy following the purchase of  Dennis Merchant’s Mediabenchmarks. Then, after two years as New Business Director at Starcom MediaVest Stephen recently returned to TrinityP3 with an intimate understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by media agencies and their clients.

Dennis Merchant is a vocal critic of the Media Audit and in fact TrinityP3 has stayed true to this belief, focused not on media costs but the importance of the delivery of media value in both strategy and trading. Rather than focusing simply on media rates and cost, TrinityP3 works with our clients to identify where media value is created, lost and hidden.

We also work with our clients to discussing pressing media issues such as transparency, programmatic buying, performance media and managing owned, earned and bought media. At a time when media continues to be the single largest investment for advertisers in a landscape which is increasingly complex and challenging Stephen has excellent advice for those wanting to achieve greater media value from this investment.

Q1: What are the biggest challenges maximizing media value?

The biggest challenge facing marketers is the nature of change in the media marketplace.

Things are very different now to how they were a few years ago.  And it takes a lot of time and a breadth of understanding to work out how to spend funds to optimal effect.  Understanding what you don’t know is a key challenge.
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Why marketers should worry about scam advertising award entries

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.

Scam awards entries have come to industry attention again, following the most recent Cannes Lions Awards. In the process, several high profile advertisers have been associated with their agencies’ entries. But what are the implications for the advertiser?

It is a standard response that advertisers are not really interested in creative awards. But the fact is that marketers are human and those that have healthy and close working relationships with their agencies actually enjoy seeing them being recognised, especially for work they may have created together.

But when it comes to controversy such as scam ads, it is natural that marketers would prefer not to comment on these situations. The advice from their corporate affairs people would be to ignore it and hope it will go away.

But the creative advertising awards business is a multi-million dollar industry and one that can make or break an agency or creative person’s reputation with one award-winning campaign, as we all witnessed last year with Dumb Ways to Die, which won its awards entirely fairly.

Award shows have tried to capitalise on building advertiser interest in creative awards by recognising advertisers themselves for the outstanding work produced by their agencies. The more marketers they encourage to want to win creative awards, the more entries they will get, creating a virtuous circle for award organisers like Cannes Lions.

Effectiveness_Cannes_Lion

While I’m not referring to any of the recently published examples where questions have been raised, let’s be honest here; scam advertising for the purpose of winning awards is potentially fraudulent. An agency participating in this behaviour could be seen as defrauding other entrants by deliberately misrepresenting the intention or purpose of the advertising.

And the marketers that stand silently by and allow their agencies to do so are guilty by association.

Scam advertising is not an isolated problem. It exists in almost every market including the more mature markets like the US and the UK. It only seems particularly prevalent in Australia because of a self-critical industry culture, supported by the anonymity provided by the local trade media.

So as a marketer, what should you do if your agency is suggested to have been involved in a scam?

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