The real business cost of all of those back-to-back meetings

Over the summer (Southern hemisphere) I was checking out apps similar to the TrinityP3 Resource Rate Calculator Business App on the iTune App Store and came across this beauty from LBi, one of the hot digital shops (who in late 2011 opened an office in Sydney)

It is called COMA – Cost Of Meeting App. 


I finally got a chance to give it a real life test in a client meeting recently. We were discussing agency remuneration negotiations between the agency and the marketing and procurement team.

There were five people from the client (3 marketers and 2 procurement), eight from the agency (The CEO, CFO, General Manager, Group Account Director and four account management staff). And of course me. 14 in total.

I opened the COMA on my iPhone prior to the meeting, while I was waiting for everyone to arrive (Amazing how it is almost impossible for everyone to get to a meeting on time) and set the parameters. I took a guess at the average hourly rate but with the heavy hitters in the room I think I erred on the low side.


When the meeting finally commenced 20 minutes late (I am not telling who was last to arrive, but there was lots of conversation between the account team and procurement. I set the calculator running and an hour and almost five minutes later stopped it as the meeting was winding up.

One meeting. One hour. 14 people. The cost was almost $3,400. Excluding Tax.

Now before you argue that the marketing and procurement team should not be included in the calculation because the only people charging to be there are the agency and me, the consultant, consider this – All of those people in that room are employed to provide a service to the company. All of those people receive a salary and cost the company overhead and contribute to profit.

Therefore the total cost of that meeting is $3,400 + Tax. Excluding travel and waiting time.


I would recommend everyone go an download the LBi iPhone COMA App from iTune and put your meeting to the test. Work in progress. Internal review meetings. Strategy planning days. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Lets have a competition for the most expensive meeting?

Let me know your COMA results.

Anonymously if you like by direct message on Twitter @trinityp3 and hashtag #COMA



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About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email:
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3 Responses to The real business cost of all of those back-to-back meetings

  1. Danni says:

    Love it Darren, could have used this a number of times to demonstrate the waste of resources in a meeting!

    Although many of the people may not even charge the client for the time (often for such meetings C-site salaries are not charged back) the cost to the agency is critical as well – especially if there are attendees not adding any value!

    • TrinityP3 says:

      Danni, I agree, it is a terrific little tool from LBi because it makes you aware of the cost / value that we often take for granted. It would be interesting to put it into operation on a number of different everyday scenarios like pre-prodcution meetings, strategy workshops etc to see what is the real cost.

  2. Nicole says:

    We've costed a lot of meetings, through apps and just using simple maths for our own research at Konveen and it's always fascinating if not a little bit scary to see how much a meeting can cost, especially a high level one. However what we are finding is that the metric of time isn't showing the full picture. The focus is often on making meetings as quick as possible but if we put more time into planning meetings, putting the agenda through a filter and deciding what outcomes we wanted, time would become less relevant. The cost would become an investment in the outcome and would probably result in fewer follow up meetings, which would as a side effect save time.

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