How much time do you waste in meetings per week?

This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is one of Australia’s leaders in data-driven marketing. Helping navigate through the bells, whistles and hype to identify genuine marketing value when it comes to technology, digital activity, and the resulting data footprint.

It’s strange how the universe works. Or maybe it was an amazing algorithm predicting my behaviour.

Having just completed a marketing team assessment project for a client where one of the findings was meeting overload, up popped this Infographic by Oisín Grogan, The $200 Million Business Coach:

How much time do you waste in meetings per week?

It’s a lovely flow diagram of how to decide on the importance of your meeting contribution – neatly phrased as, Why Am I Talking, or W.A.I.T.

However I’d like to pull back a step, and ask whether you actually need to have the meeting in the first place.

Plus discuss whether a whole lot of meetings can be amalgamated or prevented to give back time to focus on your business.

Here’s another infographic by Oisín Grogan that succinctly challenges you to think why you are having meetings:

How much time do you waste in meetings per week?

Time has become a major focus in our new economy. Whether it’s businesses becoming more agile, automating, integrating artificial intelligence, or consumers wanting to interact quicker, time is becoming a central theme in management and consumer circles.

Everyone is saying they’re busy. So it’s no wonder that Oisín released his infographic. If you can reduce meeting times, or ensure that conversation is focused, then it will save time.

How much time are you wasting in meetings?

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Ad Agencies are Just Like Cruise Ships

This post is by Michael Farmer, Chairman of TrinityP3 USA and author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter: an inside view of fee-cutting clients, profit-hungry owners and declining ad agencies, which won the Axiom Gold Business Book Award for the best marketing / advertising book of 2016.

Ad agencies are like cruise ships.

We don’t see many Big Ideas any more.  Content may be king, but content is forgettable, millions of tiny ideas in a million different places.  Can anything new be said about a product?  Or an industry, like the advertising industry?

Well, I’m not a creative — more like a dreaded management consultant.  Nevertheless, here’s a cross-industry Big Idea, free for the asking: Ad agencies are just like cruise ships!  Don’t dismiss this out of hand. Read on!

Unlimited portions. Cruise ships offer all-inclusive drinks and all-you-can-eat buffets, just like agencies with their Scopes of Work.  Well-fed customers are happy customers, it is thought.  There’s nothing better than coming back for seconds and not having to pay. Besides, it’s too complicated to account for food on a per-customer basis.  Better to load up the serving line and let ’em come ’til they’ve had their fill.  Build in the cost, if you can, in the all-inclusive price.  Be known for all-you-can eat.  You can cut the quality, but never the quantity.  Whatever you do, don’t lose the customer.

Big fixed costs.  It costs a lot to keep a ship afloat.  The ship must be on the move, filled to capacity with fee-paying customers who want nothing more than to be entertained, fed and amused until their next big cruise.  An empty stateroom is lost revenue and uncovered overhead — completely unacceptable.  Fill up the ship!  Do what you must to keep it full and on the move!  If you’re an agency, sell those man-hours, even if they’re for crappy projects.

Discounting.  Discount if you must, even if the discounts don’t quite cover the free booze, unlimited meals and SOW deliverables.  Watch out, though, for over-discounting and attracting the wrong kind of customers.  Once you get the reputation for being low-priced and down-market, you’re stuck — you can’t inch your way back to premium pricing. Ad agencies know this from their experience — many agencies are “commodity suppliers” paid at commodity rates.  All they can do is sell man-hours at any price to cover fixed costs and deliver profits.
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Managing Marketing: The concept of social media for sales in B2B relationships

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Tom Skotidas is the Founder and General Manager of Skotidas Consulting Group, specialising in social and digital demand generation. Here he talks with Darren on the power of social media to generate sales and revenue as well as build business reputations and relationships.

Tom Skotidas

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today we’re going to be having a conversation about where the rubber hits the road because I’m lucky enough to have Tom Skotidas here who is a B2B marketer and a social selling expert. Welcome, Tom.

Tom:

Great to be here, Darren.

Darren:

It’s interesting for me because a lot of people are inclined to think of B2B as the poor end of the marketing mix. It really bugs me how B2C and brand advertising is seen as the sort of lead and B2B is the poor cousin. Why is that?

Tom:

When we say, ‘a poor cousin’ we usually mean it receives less budget, a lot less budget than B2C marketers get, and also when you work with B2B marketers you find that most of the budget they give you, as an agency for example, is campaign based or quarterly based rather than over 12 months as a retainer.

So, the reason for this poor cousin status–there are a few, but probably the biggest one is B2B marketing and organisations in general are seen as sales focused, sales team focused. And it’s the sales team and the sales leaders that are seen as the heroes of the business and the marketers range from well-regarded all the way down to the department of arts and crafts or colouring-in department.

Darren:

Yeah, very much a support role to the sales team because the sales team is (in most organisations) where the money actually hits the till isn’t it?

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When is the right time to apply the Golden Rule in marketing?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With 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.

This is the first in a series of one minute videos that address one of the many complex challenges facing marketing, media and advertising today. The Golden Minute series is an attempt to prove Albert Einstein right when he said “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple”.

But he also said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. So we will leave it for you to judge. Please let us know here if there is a topic you would like us to cover in a Golden Minute.

 

The first time I wrote about the Golden Rule was five years ago, back in 2012 in an article on media kick-backs and rebates. I first heard about The Golden Rule back when I was Creative Director at JWT and was asked to judge the Times Advertising Awards for Chinese Language Advertising in Taiwan.

It was there that one of the other judges was joking about the “Golden Rule” being an ancient Chinese philosophy. He said it was even older than Confucius. The Golden Rule being that “the man with the gold made the rules”. It resonated that an ancient, traditionally feudal society would believe that money and power define the rules, unlike a modern democracy, where the people have the power to make the rules, right?

It was a concept that stayed with me and which I have applied particularly to media and advertising in recent years. I have since found out it appears to be a much more recent saying attributed to everyone from actor Tyler Perry to the cartoon strip the Wizard of Id by cartoonists Brant Parker and Johnny Hart.

The Golden Rule in Agency Rosters

For more than ten years, a common complaint we have addressed from our marketer clients is “Why can’t our agencies just work together?”. At the end of last year the CMO at Australia’s largest telco was complaining that media and creative agencies don’t talk anymore. The difference being that Joe Pollard, who has had a career as a marketer and agency side, understands the importance of the Golden Rule when she goes on to says “its something that I absolutely enforce now I am back on client side”.

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Agencies Struggle with Declining Prices

This post is by Michael Farmer, Chairman of TrinityP3 USA and author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter: an inside view of fee-cutting clients, profit-hungry owners and declining ad agencies, which won the Axiom Gold Business Book Award for the best marketing / advertising book of 2016.

Agencies struggle

Since 1992, the average price for creative agency deliverables has declined by 70% in today’s dollars, according to my research [1] for Madison Avenue Manslaughter.

Nevertheless, agencies have managed to deliver growing profit margins for their owners throughout this 25-year period. How was this possible?  Are agencies still “fat,” as many procurement executives believe, or have they starved themselves to generate profits in the face of declining prices?

To generate growing margins, agencies had to cut costs per deliverable at a rate greater than the 70% price decline. J Walter Thompson was earning a 4% profit margin when WPP bought it in the late ’80s.  If it is now generating the required WPP profit margin of 15-20%, it had to bring down its costs per deliverable by at least 85% in constant dollars.

This is true for other agencies, as well.

Here’s how it happens:
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Is there nothing fair or reasonable about agency remuneration?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With 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.

Fair agency remuneration

During more than 15 years of agency benchmarking and negotiations two words I have often heard repeated in these discussions is fair and reasonable. Marketers, procurement and agencies all agree that the remuneration model should be fair and reasonable.

It is no wonder these words are so popular, after all they sound fair and reasonable. This is why so many guidelines on agency remuneration, including ISBA in 2006, ACASA in 2009, ISBA and IPA in 2012 and the recommendations of competitors and even ourselves, have all stated and restated that agency remuneration should strive to be fair to both advertisers and their agencies.

It is a great way to start a negotiation, because all parties start with an agreement on the fact they are working towards a fair and reasonable outcome. But somewhere along the way the concepts of fair and reasonable take on very different meanings depending on your position in the negotiation.

Lets explore some of the areas where it often becomes difficult to agree on what is fair and reasonable when negotiating agency remuneration.

Fair resource inclusions

The first area of contention is what resources are included in the remuneration agreement and what are not. This is especially true when negotiating agency retainers. There was always a component of agency overhead that was termed “indirect salaries”.

These are the salary costs of the people within the agency that are often not directly billed to clients. The type of roles included in this are the agency finance team, receptionist, executive assistance and the like. These are important support roles and yet are not directly billed to the client as they function in a secondary shared capacity.

The biggest change within agencies over the past 15 – 20 years is that the number of people and the size of this cost have significantly reduced as agencies have increased productivity.

Finance and other back office functions are often shared and support roles for executives have been reduced, replaced by more technology-enabled self-sufficient executives. The Mad Men days where everyone had a secretary or assistant are well and truly over. Yet some point out that this has meant the opportunity for talent to enter the agency at this level and grow and develop has also been lost.

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What are the biggest challenges facing marketing today?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With 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.

Back in February this year we had our twice yearly get together in Sydney with all the TrinityP3 consultants from around the world, including Michael Farmer, our new Executive Chairman and the author of the best selling book “Madison Avenue Manslaughter”.

Every six months we get the gang together to review and discuss the business and plan the future. Last February this conversation led to the changes you see on the TrinityP3.com site today. It was started with a conversation with Michael around the trends and challenges facing CMOs and their organisations, which could be summed up in one word – GROWTH – or more specifically the lack of it.

Marketing challenges

The past two decades we realised we had witnessed the downward pressure not just on agency fees, but marketing budgets. Marketers were expected to do more with less and were increasingly being held accountable to deliver company growth, often while their marketing resources had become fragmented, distributed and misaligned.

Marketers were struggling with managing all of these moving parts in an increasingly complex market. This included their external agencies, which had gone from being a trusted friend they could rely on to a multi-headed hydra struggling for a greater share of their diminishing budget.

We could feel this struggle because over the past two decades we had to evolve to the changing market place too.

The evolution from cost consultant to management consultant

Back in January 2000 we launched P3 to help people achieve commercial purpose through creative process, but quickly found that people (marketers) were more interested in how much they were paying for their creative process. Today our work with our clients is much more focused on delivering both productivity and performance improvement to the marketing process.

This change did not occur overnight but it is instructive to review how this evolved over time and the trends and market changes that influenced this transformation. Like the marketing, media and advertising industry itself, we have needed to keep evolving to the needs of the market.

Yet it is interesting that often people in the industry will remember us for a particular type of project or process, such as pitch management or search and selection, even though this is only a very small component of the work we do with our clients.

Costs consulting

For the first five years of business, P3 was primarily acting as an advertising production cost consultant. Most advertisers were interested in how much they were paying for their productions and if this was fair and reasonable. Television costs were of particular interest, but this raised questions on agency remuneration and media planning and buying and so our consulting base and the scope of our work increased.

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The Terrible Outcomes of Lower Growth in Advertising

This post is by Michael Farmer, Chairman of TrinityP3 USA and author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter: an inside view of fee-cutting clients, profit-hungry owners and declining ad agencies, which won the Axiom Gold Business Book Award for the best marketing / advertising book of 2016.

Growth in advertising

Growth is the engine of wealth and success.  Stock prices soar.  Companies expand, hire and promote, and salaries rise.  Optimism abounds.  Everyone has a place in a growing future.  The party does not go on forever, as we know.  Growth rates slow, and sometimes they halt — the reasons vary, but it’s inevitable.  Still, the end of growth is shocking, and the advertising industry is now facing the shock.

The advertising industry grew aggressively after the Second World War, and the baby boom generation provided additional momentum once it grew up.  Traditional ad agencies went public and were snapped up by the holding companies, which grew through acquisitions, organic revenue growth and improved agency profits via aggressive cost reductions. Holding company share prices rose.

Yet here we are, seeing a growth crisis.  Who are its victims?
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Managing Marketing: The importance of measuring performance in digital marketing

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Luke Brown is CEO and co-founder of Affinity and here he discusses with Darren their approach to digital advertising and the importance in clearly defining business and marketing success upfront and developing a strategy and optimising the execution against that objective.

measuring performance in digital marketing

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and this week I’m joined by Luke Brown, CEO and co-founder of agency Affinity here in Sydney. Welcome, Luke.

Luke:

Thanks, Darren.

Darren:

Luke, I’ve read some of the opinion pieces that you’ve recently been placing in the trade press or trade media and I’ve been really impressed by your view of the marketing landscape but particularly one of the topics I wanted to discuss with you is that we’ve seen digital advertising grow and grow and grow for the last decade.

It’s been the darling of marketers. Everyone’s been talking about how terrific digital marketing is (and media) except in the last month or so. Suddenly it’s like the demon and everyone’s pointing the finger at how it’s ripping all the marketers off. What do you think’s happened?

Luke:

That’s a really good question. We believe that digital is a really incredibly powerful tool but it’s definitely been over-hyped and often oversold. It’s not a silver bullet for every situation.

Darren:

It is horses for courses, isn’t it? One of the things that cracks me up is the fact that so many people in the industry talk about it as if it’s either or. You either do digital or you stay the old-fashioned traditional. Whoever said it was a choice between one or the other?

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Where can Global Advertisers find the best Creative Value?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With 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.

The global marketplace is increasingly becoming a global village thanks to the pervasiveness of the internet and growing mobility. The days of ‘centres of excellence’ are passing, as talent now has the ability to collect into cohorts anywhere in the world.

For a global marketer looking to tap into the sources of world-class creativity, the issue is one of not only identifying the location of this creative talent but also the relative cost of assessing their value.

To provide a measure of creative value requires a consistent and recognised measure of creativity and a measure of cost, together producing a Creative Value Index (CVI). By sourcing existing creative and cost metrics, we have been able to apply the methodology to calculate a CVI that allows global and regional advertisers to identify markets offering exceptional value for creativity based on performance and cost.

A measure of creativity

Creativity is at the core of the advertising process and is certainly one of the main attributes marketers and advertisers look for in selecting an advertising agency. The industry itself recognises and rewards creativity through an extensive network of award shows, global, regional and local that amount to around 700 per year on the last count.

Agency networks and their holding company owners look to their performance at these award shows to validate their creative reputation, especially in the major award shows that are recognised globally.

One of the most trusted and reliable monitors of creative performance is the Gunn Report, which collates creative award performance by agency and by market to produce a ranking of creativity. Their methodology for preparing this score and ranking is provided here

Creative value in global advertising.

Based on their published 2016 results for creativity by market for the top 25 markets, provided below courtesy of the Gunn Report, it would be reasonable to consider that the top ranking countries are to be recognised as the most creative markets in the world and therefore the countries where the top creative work could be sourced.

But does this represent creative value or simply creative performance?

CREATIVE RANKING  
RANKING Country Gunn Report Creative Total By Country 2016 *
1 USA (1) 410
2 UK (2) 210
3 AUSTRALIA (3) 114
4 BRAZIL (4) 107
5 ARGENTINA (5) 105
6 NEW ZEALAND (6) 98
7 FRANCE (7) 89
8 SPAIN (8) 86
9 JAPAN (9) 85
10 SWEDEN (10) 83
11 GERMANY (11) 82
12 UAE (12) 59
13 INDIA (13) 51
14 THAILAND (14) 46
15 THE NETHERLANDS (15) 38
16 CANADA (16) 37
17 SOUTH AFRICA (17) 29
18 BELGIUM (18) 23
20 NORWAY (19) 22
19 MEXICO (19) 22
21 SINGAPORE (21) 19
22 RUSSIA (21) 19
23 CHINA (23) 18
24 SWITZERLAND (24) 16
25 ITALY (24) 16
* Gunn Report 2016 (Gunn Ranking)

The impact of scale on creative ranking

Reviewing the results we also wondered how the size of each of these advertising markets impacted on the Gunn Report creative score. After all, the larger the market, the more advertising or creative opportunities, the more likely to attract creative talent and the more likely to enter the major creative awards.

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10 ways to save money with your agencies (without shooting yourself in the foot)

This post is by Stephan Argent, CEO of Argedia Group and a member of the Marketing FIRST Forum, the global consulting collective co-founded by TrinityP3

Save money with agency

If you’re reading this thinking it may be an easy fix guide to squeezing the living daylights out of your agency(s) to save costs, you’re going to be disappointed. It isn’t.  Because one of the biggest challenges when marketers try to save money – whether it’s with their agencies or not – is how to save money without eroding value.

Done wrong, the consequences of trying to save money can be disastrous because you limit marketing efforts, diminish value from media dollars, upset long-standing agency relationships, squeeze profit margins too hard and erode the level of quality resources on your own business.

Kinda like shooting yourself in the corporate foot.

Done right, marketers can save money and improve value to the services they’re paying for.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But actually, it’s surprisingly simple if you follow the simple adage, “accentuate the positive – eliminate the negative…” In other words, eliminate, address and fix the stuff that’s not working or eroding value and leverage the positive assets your agency(s) are bringing to the table.

Here are ten ways to save money and potentially increase value in the process: Continue reading “10 ways to save money with your agencies (without shooting yourself in the foot)”

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The latest ANA Programmatic Transparency Report – laudable intent, but what does it actually tell us?

This post is by David Angell, TrinityP3 General Manager and Head of Media. David has extensive commercial and media experience gained through a fifteen year career in media agencies, which he uses to help drive optimal results for TrinityP3 clients.

Programmatic transparency

I’ve just read the latest ANA report, ‘Programmatic: Seeing through the Financial Fog’.

Published recently and completed in conjunction with the ANA, the ACA, Ebiquity and AD/FIN, the stated goal of the report was to ‘investigate the costs and economics of the programmatic advertising system.’

How big was the study?

The report claims to be based on a wide ranging study, two years in the making. It analysed ‘16.4 billion purchased media impressions on behalf of seven major advertisers across five programmatic DSPs.’

It may be big enough, but is it broad enough?

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Ignorance of Pricing is Ruining Ad Agencies

This post is by Michael Farmer, Chairman of TrinityP3 USA and author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter: an inside view of fee-cutting clients, profit-hungry owners and declining ad agencies, which won the Axiom Gold Business Book Award for the best marketing / advertising book of 2016.

Ad agency pricing

All companies sell products or services at a price, and managing price is a major responsibility of top management.  Car companies sell cars, and sticker prices are marked on side windows.  Coca-Cola sells concentrate to its bottlers, setting price per gallon to match market circumstances.  Pizza-Hut sells pizzas in restaurants, and pizza prices are marked on the menus.  Bain sells consulting studies to corporations and prices them by study length and complexity.

Agencies, though, are confused about what they sell and how to price it.  Their ignorance of pricing is ruining agency operations and destroying agency value for clients, employees and holding company owners.  The advertising industry is the only industry in the world without a concept of pricing.

Let’s keep it simple.  Creative agencies do not sell Big Ideas, creativity, Cannes award-wins or brand building any more than General Motors sells transportation, Apple sells communications or Bain sells analytics.  Creative agencies sell ads, or more broadly, content in the form of deliverables.

Bundled with the deliverables are strategic insights, of course, just as iPhones are bundled with high value functionalities.  Agencies are in the deliverables business.  The business is expected to deliver results.  Prices should be high enough to reflect anticipated results. The number of deliverables is high and growing.  Price is income divided by deliverables.  Price per deliverable (with deliverables normalised by size) is the relevant pricing metric.

Research for my book Madison Avenue Manslaughter shows that deliverables have been growing and fees have been falling for decades. Consequently, price has fallen dramatically, and there is nothing in management’s toolbox to manage or stop it. 

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What is going on with advertising creative awards?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With 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.

The announcement last week by the CEO of Publicis Groupe, Arthur Sadoun, that the holding company would be taking a year out from Award Shows and other industry marketing events has had the impact I am sure he was hoping for.

Of course this made industry news world-wide, and with my career including 15 years as a copywriter and creative director and president of the Melbourne Advertising & Design Club for two years I was asked by Mumbrella Asia to make a comment.

Advertising creative awards

My comment is that this reflects the worsening economics of the agency business and it has come to a head at Cannes this year, because in the past year, holding company growth has virtually stagnated. All this at a time when the owners of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity made a very public display of the value of the awards through their IPO valuing them at £800 million.

But the implications are not for the Cannes Awards, who like the US banks are too big to be allowed to fail, but it potentially has a huge impact for the plethora of industry awards around the world. Let me explain.

The timing of the announcement

Mr Sadoun could have made his announcement to withdraw from award shows and other industry events for a year, to fund the development of the AI transformation of the agency, but he made the announcement during the Cannes Festival Week. The reason can only be to have maximum impact at a time when the global industry and mainstream media is focused on the industry.

After all he is not the first agency network or holding company to question the cost or the ROI of these creative award shows. At the start of 2016 Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide announced that DDB would be investing less in entering creative awards for the reasons he provided here.

Then a few months prior to the awards, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that reported that WPP, along with some of their competitors, would cut spend this year by 25%, in the face of declining revenue growth.

Yet, neither of these reports received the reaction that Mr Sadoun’s had. Certainly he did up the anti from simply making cuts in investment to a one year ‘ban’. But his reaction has had maximum impact with others openly questioning the value of creative awards  and regarding Cannes in particular, Sir Martin Sorrell called for the Festival to be relocated, and the Festival organiser convened an advisory committee of marketers to shape the future of the Awards to meet industry needs.

Holding Company Financial Performance

Holding Company financial performance is under pressure with Pivotal Research reporting revenues for the five largest globally diversified companies showing organic growth for the 1Q17 around the world of around +1.7% and for the US / North America the comparable figure is closer to -0.3%.

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Managing Marketing: The increasing role of science in marketing and advertising

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Adam Ferrier is a Consumer Psychologist and the co-founder of MSIX the Marketing Science Ideas Exchange and best selling co-author of The Advertising Effect. Here he talks with Darren about the role of science in marketing and the importance of the symbiotic relationship between the Mad Men and the Math Men in driving innovation, creativity and most importantly performance.

Adam Ferrier on science in marketing

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today I’ve got the great pleasure of having a chat to Adam Ferrier who is a consumer psychologist and co-founder of MSIX the Marketing Science Ideas Exchange. Welcome, Adam.

Adam:

Hi, Darren.

Darren:

The thing that I wanted to particularly have a chat about today is this whole idea of science in marketing ‘cause coming from a science and medical research background I find that so many people feel incredibly uncomfortable with those two concepts.

Adam:

Yeah, I think science has historically had a kind of a shield around it, which made it feel quite impenetrable and it had no place at all in the world of marketing. To get stuck straight into it about 10 or 15 years ago a guy called Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, won the Nobel laureate for economics and in so doing kind of discovered or built behavioural economics.

And behavioural economics was the first time that economics had been treated as a science. Before that it was just a whole bunch of theories and what they have done in the world of behavioural economics suddenly made science feel much more applicable and applied and also somewhat commercialised as well.

Darren:

I think accessible to a commercial application because it’s easier to distinguish pure and applied science and people often argue that in our modern world people should be looking at the applied science but there’s also a role for pure science as well because that’s where often a lot of initial interesting ideas are generated which will find themselves into being applied.

Adam:

But I think you’re already going to start freaking out a lot of people when you start talking like that who are going to be listening to this podcast and go, ‘shit, this is going to be too science-y, it’s going to get boring’.

When I was a psychologist (and I still am) everyone used to call psychology a soft science—it used to piss me off because there’s nothing soft; it’s just a difficult and complex science but still the scientific rigour is needed to understand and get sure footing around certain principles.

Darren:

You’re right. I don’t want to be a Sheldon here from Big Bang Theory and start saying, ‘well there’s only one pure science and everything else is irrelevant’ but I think it’s because the sciences based around human beings are incredibly complex because human beings are incredibly complex, aren’t they?

Adam:

That’s right and the way I look at the science of human behaviour or psychology is in the 50’s and 60’s a really good fundamental understanding of humans was investigated and we had really kind of big effects sizes for lots of the various types of experiments that were being done and ever since then it’s got more and more derivative of those kinds of things.

So, we’re finding out less and less of those big things about humans work and it’s becoming more and more nuanced. I think one of the things that holds science as an application in marketing back is that it’s just not worth it sometimes.

So, you might understand or find out something’s really true but it just doesn’t have that big an effect size and because scientists are really keen to publish everything they learn, sometimes the effect size of what they’re talking about can be really really small so therefore it might be interesting but not really worth knowing.

The role of science in marketing

Darren:

So my interest here is the fact I think there’s a lot of things about science methodology that could fit really well with the marketing process, for instance a cornerstone is the scientific method: the idea of how to take an observation, make a hypothesis, design an experiment, carry out the experiment, look at the results and see whether the hypothesis is proven or not.

So, science, beyond just the insights you’re talking about, that science can evolve and prove and then use those to inform marketing there’s a bigger gain here from my perspective, which is to actually embrace the practices of science, to take marketing from being an opinion-driven industry to more a fact-based or data-based application.

Adam:

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