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.
We regularly have marketers and procurement come and ask us to benchmark their agency resources. Do they have the right level of account management? Or too much strategy? Is the media trading team right? Or do they need a higher technology resource level?
We have the methodology and data to be able to accurately calculate and benchmark the level and mix of resources required to deliver the scope of work.
We can also provide the same process for the marketing communications resources within the organisation. A common issue within some marketing departments is that they have grown organically to become bloated and ineffectual, while other marketing teams suffer from not keeping pace with the growth in their work scope without a corresponding increase in their resources. Either can lead to inefficiencies and under-performance.
This is important because just as marketing has become more complex and diverse, we are particularly focused on the communication component, which can include:
- Campaign management
- Agency / Supplier Management
- Media (Traditional)
- Media (Digital)
- Advertising Production
- Customer Relationship Management
- Customer Data & Analytics
- Social Media
- Production Management
- Corporate Design
The list is extensive, but is specifically focused on the communications component of the marketing mix and excludes marketing functions such as NPD, pricing, distribution and the like.
What criteria are considered?
Beyond the functions and the associated spend that are the responsibility of marketing, we also need to consider the volume of the tasks or project being managed. This provides an understanding of the complexity of the work being managed by the marketing communications team.
After all, managing the spend of a $10 million dollar media budget that is spent on television alone and across a few major campaigns requires less resources than managing a local area media marketing budget of the same size.
We also need to understand what tasks the marketing communications team manages in-house. Increasingly marketing teams are bringing services such as social media and studio production in-house.
By isolating the resources undertaking services usually outsourced we are able to then benchmark these against the agency resource benchmarks to ensure the in-house resource is commercially comparable to the performance of an outsourced supplier.
Finally we need to understand the organisational structure of the existing marketing communications team alone, with an understanding of the number of internal stakeholder functions they interface with and the number of suppliers they are managing.
What do you need?
To undertake the marketing communications resourcing benchmark we require the following:
- Annual spend by communications discipline (Can also be further segmented by line of business)
- Organisational chart for marketing communications identifying in-house resources
- Total FTEs for Marketing Communications
- Total salary cost for Marketing Communications
- Number of external agencies / suppliers managed
- Number of internal stakeholder groups
With the data we can either make a number of assumptions on complexity and the like or through discussions with the marketing communications leadership team we can pre-agree these variables.
It is then simply a matter of calculating the number of Marketing FTEs required based on the data provided. We then compare this to the total FTEs and then review the mix of seniority of the resources in the current mix.
What is the outcome?
Typically the report is used to review the current resource levels and the mix of these resources. It can be used to facilitate the discussion on whether the resource levels are too low or high, and also if the mix of resources is skewed too junior or too senior.
In the case where we are able to segment the marketing communications resources and spend by the line of business they work with, we are able to demonstrate where some of the larger lines of business are significantly supporting the smaller business units in the marketing function.
It can also ensure that when services typically provided by external suppliers are brought in-house, the level of resources being used is in-line with the resource levels externally. This can ensure that the savings proposed by bringing these services in-house are actually being delivered.
Rather than simply guessing if your marketing communications function is over or under resourced, we provide a ‘customised’ benchmark for consideration. Ultimately having the resources too low is just as false an economy as having the levels too high.