Marketing for universities: the need for smart marketing data

The higher education market is starting to undergo a major disruption, with the advent of blended learning, remote access and connectivity, game-like learning, and new academic integration opportunities beyond the traditional teaching roles. World-leading universities are starting to rethink their model to maintain relevance in today’s digitally literate and highly globalised world. They realise that students and society have leapt forward in terms of digital technology, expectation and control. Continue reading

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Why working and non-working spend analysis does not work anymore

Recently there have been a few very public media announcements by a couple of major brands that they are going to cut their non-working spend in their marketing budget. These announcements are primarily for the investors and are often in response to investor concerns on performance and designed to send a positive message to the market place that the company is working to increase profitability through top line growth and controlling cost. The response for many competitive organisations is to follow suit and so we have seen recently a roll-out of both zero based budgeting for marketing across many major organisations and now exercises to reduce non-working spend. Continue reading

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The problem of the digital silo, and why we all need to escape it

Thank goodness for Madhav Nayak. For those of you who don’t know him, Madhav Nayak is the APAC marketing director at Unilever. Actually, I don’t know him myself – not personally. But I did enjoy the recent pleasure of listening to him speak at the Marketing Magazine Digital Performance Marketing Conference in Singapore. Madhav was last up on the day – he delivered the closing keynote speech, entitled ‘Traps in a digital world – and how marketers can avoid them’. Continue reading

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Reading between the lines of the AANA/Adnews Interview

Finally, after over six weeks of careful consideration and extensive internal discussion, Matt Tapper and Sunita Gloster of the AANA broke cover and were interviewed by AdNews last week on the issue of media agency transparency. You can be forgiven for missing it though, since the headline for the interview – ‘transparency isn’t where it should be’ – was an award-winning, no-kidding masterpiece of understatement. But what a reassuring read it was. Continue reading

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Why the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) needs to review its membership

I recently expressed concern over the apparent leadership from the AANA on the issue of media transparency and rebates. This is an issue that we have seen develop in the past more than four years and which we have recommended possible solutions to our clients and the industry during that time. But with the latest rebuff from the AANA I posed that the inaction could be due to a possible conflict of interest in their financial membership, which includes agencies and advertisers. Instead of a discussion on the topic there was a rebuttal and then silence. Continue reading

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What is the definition of Marketing?

As Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, I was surprised at the range of definitions often raised in discussions with members of the institute and the diversity of opinions even on the board. A Google search of definitions of marketing led me to this collection of definitions by Heidi Cohen, that are quite comprehensive and I picked through these to identify particular themes on marketing definitions that I used as a stimulus for the participants in the EMBA course. Continue reading

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Retailer undertakes an assessment of their media agency – case study

The marketing team had a strong and long-term relationship with the incumbent media agency, but had noticed a drop-off in quality across the past 12 months. Additionally, contract material was out of date. The marketing client was unsure about whether or not to pitch the agency business in order to test the market. Continue reading

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There are great production deals, but here’s why you the advertiser are not seeing them

If you believe some of the headlines there is no one advertising on television and yet the 13 and a half minutes of advertising every hour on commercial television appears to be full of commercials. The trade media are busy showcasing the latest campaigns from the major brands with the latest 60 second of 90 second director’s cut of television commercial on YouTube as the headline visual for the story. So clearly television commercial production is still happening, but perhaps not at the volume seen in the golden years of advertising and not with as many multi-million dollar budgets. Continue reading

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Managing Marketing: Putting the value back into agency remuneration

Mike Duda, Managing Partner of Bullish, explores the role of agencies in creating business value for their clients and yet the business model of the majority of agencies is cost recovery centric and not value based. They discuss the role of performance based models and incentives and the need for agencies to transform their compensation models to thrive. Continue reading

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Book Review: Disrupted, My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

Disrupted is one man’s account of working at HubSpot, a fast-growing start-up enterprise based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a brand well-known in global marketing circles. HubSpot is a marketing software company; its founders, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing’, and in a genius move to ‘own’ the phrase in the marketplace, they also wrote a book of the same name. The author of Disrupted is Dan Lyons. According to his bio on the book’s dust jacket, Lyons is a novelist, journalist and screenwriter. He is currently a writer for the HBO series Silicon Valley. Continue reading

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The flawed economics of falling agency salaries and falling overhead rates

It is interesting that when you listen to some marketing procurement and consultants there appears to be a consistent story regarding agency fees that goes like this, “Agency salary costs and overheads are decreasing”. For marketers wanting to get more agency services for their marketing budget this is a terrific trend because it means that agency costs are falling. In fact this trend is well documented in Michael Farmer’s book “Madison Avenue Manslaughter” where he demonstrates that agency productivity had been improving since the mid 1990s for ten years when it hit bottom and further cost reductions have been at the cost of talent quality and quantity. But for procurement and consultants to explain this continued price reduction as reductions in overhead and salary is most likely confusing cause and effect. Continue reading

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Five common traps when assessing or defending agency value

Benjamin Graham famously wrote ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.’ He was a smart guy, and one of Warren Buffet’s favourite teachers. (No doubt though, twenty far less smart people will still be posting his quote as a LinkedIn meme five or six times over the next ten days. Probably alongside yet another fake picture of a pack of wolves, with a trite exhortation to vote or breathe deeply or something. Jeez. What did they do to LinkedIn?) Anyway. Back to price and value. Continue reading

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Marketing Directors: are you spending your time on the right things?

In my rather long career, I’ve been back and forth on the marketing and advertising sides and have learnt a great deal about where to spend my time and what to spend it on. I’ve also learnt a lot about the relationship between time and money. When you get the time right, it makes spending the money so much more enjoyable, targeted, accountable, much more effective and much more inclusive. All of which means that you’ll lose less sleep, make more friends, be a success in your role and have more time and money – both personally and professionally. As a marketing director, The Holy Grail really is where you focus your efforts. Continue reading

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What is the best agency remuneration model for every advertiser?

It is interesting that according to the ANA the most common agency compensation model is still the resource retainer approach. Even with an increased number of advertisers talking about moving away from it, it appears that the retainer model is holding its ground, most likely due it is convenience and ease of management. But there is an increasing number of different agency compensation models as well as a large number of hybrid models too. Continue reading

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