This case study post is by Stephen Wright, who has recently returned to TrinityP3 to head media consulting after 2 years at a specialist programmatic agency. This case study demonstrates the value derived by both advertiser and agency from the Media Commercial Review process.
The complexity of the new media and marketing landscape places increased pressure and demands on the role of the Media Agency. Media Agencies can now be required to craft intricate strategies for complex customer audiences, develop and manage dynamic automated trading models, work with data-driven modeling, deliver content creation and manage integration with other marketing service suppliers beyond the area of Paid in the Owned, Earned and Shared (POES) environments.
Activity across all areas of the POES spectrum needs to be seamlessly aligned to ensure optimum value, impact and presence for the marketing budget. There is considerable pressure on the Advertiser/ Agency partnership to manage this complex matrix of variables.
In our role as completely independent marketing management consultants we bring a holistic view to the veracity of the current relationship and performance of the agency partner. We benchmark and balance all of the factors that provide a platform for performance potential and delivery.
The assessment examines structure and processes for efficiency, resourcing and remuneration for value, media planning and buying delivery for value and performance and assesses the contract to ensure it delivers relevant protections for both parties.
Regardless of the state of the relationship, there is always room for improvement and additional value to be derived from an external review. TrinityP3 has market wide perspective working with different agency groups across multiple categories that allows for fresh thinking and innovative approaches.
The advertiser was generally happy with the service provided by the agency and the quality of all non-digital outputs, however, there were frustrations with the digital service provided by the agency’s internal digital division. Those frustrations were:
- A lack of cohesion with the core agency team and poor coordination of digital and non-digital activities.
- Limited vision and a dearth of pro-active initiatives undertaken in the digital area which was of increasing importance to the advertiser.
- The perceived quality of the personnel on the account.
- High staff turnover.
- A lack of direct accountability to key advertiser KPI’s.
There was a discussion of separating digital and non-digital services. An agreement was reached to conduct the commercial review before determining whether to ‘go to market’ for a new digital partner.
Discovery and Learnings:
TrinityP3’s assessment uncovered the following across the 4 areas of analysis:
Resourcing and Remuneration
- The resourcing and remuneration terms for core services were closely aligned with Trinityp3 industry benchmarks.
- The contractual terms for Programmatic however were higher than benchmarks based on a contract that hadn’t been reviewed and recalibrated for over 5 years.
- The terms for Spot monitoring and Ad-serving had not been reviewed for many years and were higher than benchmarks.
- The existing head-hour/ task-based model was time-consuming and complex to manage for both agency and advertiser.
- The structure of the teams in place at both agency and advertiser resulted in a small loss of productivity and wasted resource.
- Approval timelines were less than ideal and the scope to improve the approval process was identified.
Media Value Benchmarking
- The trading platform provided by the agency through annual client negotiations was highly competitive.
- A campaign by campaign trading improved this value further.
- All campaigns benchmarked were of a very high standard.
- This included planning and execution in the digital area for the most part. However, 2 instances were identified with the potential for improved integration between digital and non-digital activities.
- The contract was a media-specific contract that covered key areas of advertiser and agency protections around data and brand safety.
- Minor recommendations were made on areas that could be tweaked to provide greater clarity and increased protection.
Overall the assessment across all areas vindicated advertiser perceptions of a service that provided high-quality deliverables through great trading and high-quality buying.
Perceived issues in the digital area were evident but had minimal impact on the media value provided by the agency.
Addressing structural and process inefficiencies had the capacity to help with digital delivery and service from the digital team.
The following actions were proposed, agreed and undertaken:
- Moving to a new retained resource model that reflected the same level of remuneration as before but was simpler to manage.
- Revised terms to reflect market benchmarks for Programmatic, Ad-serving and Spot monitoring.
- Workshops to review and refine structure and processes that included an agreement by the agency on improved integration of digital personnel with the core agency team.
- Greater consideration of innovative, alternative options for every campaign.
- A new contract to reflect the revised model and newly negotiated remuneration terms.
The agreed programme of changes was undertaken across the 3 months following the review via a combination of workshops and consultation. TrinityP3 assisted wherever we were able to facilitate discussions and add value to the process.
Results and feedback:
‘The Commercial Review undertaken by TrinityP3 has been of enormous value. The report and resultant changes have provided assurance of an appropriately priced service, customised to our needs that delivers high performing media solutions aligned with our KPI’s. Niggling issues have been resolved and we have a much-improved relationship with the agency team’
‘Recommendations for adjustments and improvements across all areas of the business were provided many of which have been incorporated into new operational procedures. The high quality of the agency’s planning and buying was independently validated with some useful suggestions on further potential value. The review process has allowed us to better align with the client and our relationship tracking scores have improved from an already high base.
Independent external analysis of a forensic nature identified changes and refinements across all areas of the business which in combination have provided an improved platform for performance potential.
The current strengths of the agency service and quality of the media outputs were recognised with recommendations for how this could be further improved.
Advertiser and Agency are better aligned, working together more effectively and efficiently against key performance measures and business based KPI’s.
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