3 most common concerns marketers have about engaging an advertising production consultant

We have been providing production consulting advice since we started in 2000. In that time we have assessed, managed, negotiated and reviewed production both in Australia and New Zealand, but also around the world and especially in Asia-Pacific.

These productions have included, television, print and increasingly major digital projects, but it is interesting that most of the concerns are in regards to television production.

And even more interesting is that in that time often the biggest concerns are, initially at least, from the marketer, many who have had previously poor experience with arrogant and aggressive consultants hell bent on delivering saving at any cost.

It is for this reason that the same three concerns seem to rise every time. They are legitimate reasons that go to the heart of the marketer / agency relationship, so I thought it worthwhile sharing these.

CONCERN 1

MARKETER: We rely on our creative agencies for their expertise on production. If we engage a consultant, won’t it cause tension with them?

TRINITYP3: The role of the production consultant is not to take over the agency’s production function, but to provide independent third party production advice with the focus clearly on allowing the agency to produce the outcomes agreed with the marketers in relation to quality and quantity.

The production consultant is not engaged to critique or provide feedback on the creative concept, but to work with the agency to identify areas for production cost efficiency. In our experience, the earlier the production consultant is consulted in the process, preferably at the briefing stage, the greater the effectiveness and the minimum of potential friction.

CONCERN 2

MARKETER: What if the agency doesn’t agree with the consultant? We can’t just up and change creative agency so we’d be stuck?

TRINITYP3: The ultimate decision is always with the marketer. The agency may present one point of view or one approach and the consultant may present an alternative approach. The marketer is then in an informed position to make a decision.

It is important to note that while TrinityP3 does not want to be remunerated on savings, we are happy to have our performance assessed based on the cost efficiencies and saving we deliver over the term of the engagement. On some productions there may be no cost reductions because they are already cost effective, but our involvement provides surety. With other productions there may be significant cost reductions. Therefore performance must be seen in the balance over all productions rather then on a project by project basis.

Of course, if the marketer decides not to take the advice we provide, that is certainly their right. But TrinityP3 can not be held accountable to the cost performance in these circumstances.

CONCERN 3

MARKETER: We have a preferred director so how can a consultant help if we don’t want to change director so can’t change the production house?

TRINITYP3: Having a preferred director can be an excellent idea. But it is also a very good reason for engaging a production consultant. With a preferred supplier you no longer have the competitive process of testing either their costs or the efficacy of their methodology in market.

This is where the production consultant, as an independent third party, can provide a surety that the director and their costs and methodology are complying with industry practice and the marketer is getting the best value possible.

This role is often difficult for the agency as they have a closer and more dependent relationship, which can preclude them from professionally challenging the process rigorously enough to ensure compliance.

So Marketers, these are the main concerns we hear and address. But ultimately the proof is the on-going relationships we have with our clients.

But if you have a concern about engaging an advertising production consultant, share it here as a comment and let me see if I can address it.

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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: darren@trinityp3.com
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2 Responses to 3 most common concerns marketers have about engaging an advertising production consultant

  1. Bob says:

    is it fair to say that agencies and production houses have brought this on themselves ie if advertisers weren't being gouged by production costs there'd be no need for production consultants

    • TrinityP3 says:

      That is not fair Bob and not completely accurate. The issue is more complex as it usually is and it includes:
      1. TV production is incredibly technical and complex and so often marketers feel out of their depth and will often not admit this to the agency. This means that they often feel exposed and compromised and therefore will be suspicious of the agency and production companies on costs.
      2. Media spend has become more fragmented and so in relation to TV production the cost of media is lower while production costs have stayed the same or increased slightly. I wrote about this on the blog March 5, 2012. https://www.trinityp3.com/2012/03/the-impact-of-me
      3. Finally some of the practices of the production industry have not been well explained to marketers and procurement, such as payment terms, catering and crew size and occupational health and safely consideration and talent fees. See a blog post in June this year on payment terms. https://www.trinityp3.com/2012/06/challenging-the-… On the surface these can look excessive and wasteful. yet when you are able to sit and explain the underlying reasons for these practices they understand and accept them.

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