Managing Marketing: Modern publishing and the new opportunities for advertisers

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.

Alexandra Tselios is the founder and publisher of the TheBigSmoke.com.au and here she talks with Darren on the changes in publishing and her approach to content, advertising, publicity and the opportunities for advertisers and their agencies to engage with her audience in a way that delivers value to all involved.

Alexandra Tselios Podcast

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing. Today I’m talking with Alexandra Tselios, publisher and founder of the media platform, ‘The Big Smoke’. Welcome, Alexandra.

Alexandra:

Thank you for having me.

Darren:

Look it’s interesting from my perspective because after 30 years in the advertising and media industry I’m used to talking and dealing with the traditional publishers (the media publishers) but you’re quite different to those traditional media publishers aren’t you (with The Big Smoke as a technology platform) so how do you see yourself as being different from them?

Alexandra:

Well, when I look at The Big Smoke as a publishing platform I see it more as an ecosystem and part of that ecosystem is that we publish front-end. But another element of that is that we aggregate writers and we aggregate content providers and we have bloggers; it’s a lot more than a site that just publishes articles for example.

I feel that there is a new way of looking at publishing in that regard and so over the last few years since I’ve launched it’s just taken a really different turn to what I expected it to be because I didn’t come from a publishing background. And I didn’t come from a media background so that was probably my saving grace to be honest with you.

Darren:

Yeah, you didn’t inherit a publishing format from your father, or grandfather. It’s not a Fairfax and it’s not a News but also you didn’t have the traditional approach they had. So what got you interested in this area?

New media – platforms and opportunities

Alexandra:

About four years ago I was sitting with a friend and I thought, ‘I’m so bored with the articles I’m reading in Australia’. Only in Australia. In the U.S I was finding some platforms that were really engaging and interesting. But I wasn’t enjoying what I was reading and I just thought there has to be a different way to have content that was by people who I might consider a little bit more relevant in terms of talking about certain issues.

I’ll give you a good example; when the Martin Place siege happened we didn’t want to have journalists writing about what was happening. We didn’t want people saying, ‘at 10.05 this happened’ and so on. What we actually did do…

Darren:

Reporting.

Alexandra:

We didn’t report because there’s enough of that. Anyone could find that out. What we did do is we got a taxi driver who was driving around Martin Place picking up people and taking them away, to write about it.  I just think there is a really great opportunity to hear these voices of people who are actually in the fields a lot of the time.

It’s more than just academics who are talking about social issues or psychology it’s actually becoming people who are barristers or doctors and I just think there is a really nice opportunity for writers to be viewed in a different way than just journalists not to say that journalists aren’t great but you know?

Darren:

It’s interesting because you are playing directly to what the founders, the creators of the internet saw the internet to be, which was a democratisation of communication. It was going to be a place where all people could be heard and in a way what you’re doing is facilitating that aren’t you?

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How to build flexibility into an agency scope of work

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 third in a series of articles on agency scope of work management. Managing the scope of work for your agency is possibly the easiest and fastest way to increase the buying power of your marketing budget by removing the duplication and uncertainty as much as possible from the agency work. In this way you are able to get more for your agency budget without simply driving down the rates and prices.

Scope of Work

Being able to plan all of your requirements of the agency for the coming year is an ideal situation. But the world and the market is often an unpredictable place and your brand strategy needs to be able to frame how your responds to the changes in the market place. Luckily there is a way to frame your agency scope of work in a way that lets you obtain the benefits of the increased efficiency.

Managing change and uncertainty

When we are working with advertisers on their scope of work for the agency, either as part of a tender or as part of their annual planning, one of the obstacles is a lack of certainty in the plans for the coming year. Of course it is natural that things can change. Nothing is more certain than change itself. But the causes of change vary significantly: change in strategy, change in market circumstances, change in requirements, change in marketing leadership and more.

But sometimes the lack of certainty is because the planning and requirements are decided outside of the marketing team and within the business. This makes it incredibly difficult to be able to plan the requirements, unless you are able to engage those areas of the business that create the demand in the planning process.

One of the ways we have had incredible success in doing this is being able to demonstrate through financial modeling of the agency process, the savings that can be obtained by deploying a more rigorous and certain planning and scope of work process.

Bringing certainty to uncertainty

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Can Procurement Fix Madison Avenue’s Mess?

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.

Procurement to fix marketing

Could Madison Avenue’s mess be any worse? The unhappy picture can be reconstructed from articles in the trade press over the past two years.

They say the following:

Legacy brands are languishing in the marketplace. The consumer transition from Baby Boomers to Millennials has been rocky and unsuccessful for too many large marketers.

CMOs are being held responsible for the lack of growth, and their tenure is only half as long as that of CEOs’. The average CEO will go through two CMOs and see a lot of marketing smoke and mirrors. In marketing, there’s uncertainty about what media mix to use, and there are major concerns about the effectiveness of digital and social media, even though the spend level in these areas is growing.

There is rampant experimentation with digital and social executions, but much of this is whistling in the wind, the hope that some of it will work. CMOs focus on cost reduction to generate improved results. Marketing looks less like an investment and more like an ongoing cost that is being reduced.

Ad agencies have been marginalised as strategic partners. Agency fees are relentlessly cut despite the growth in Scope of Work (SOW) workloads. Agencies downsize to generate holding company profits — agency people are stretched by the increased workloads and discouraged by poor pay and the lack of long-term prospects. Client relationships last no longer than CMO tenure — two to three years. Agency morale is at rock-bottom.

The AOR concept is dead or dying, as clients work with an increasing number of specialised agencies. To manage their portfolio of agencies, clients take control of media decisions, Scopes of Work and production decisions. Some advertisers take this further by creating internal agencies for creative executions and media planning. This further marginalises their agencies.

Procurement, by contrast, has become more influential. Procurement’s focus on cost reduction has generated an endless list of activities. Procurement has examined agency salaries, overhead rates and profit margins. They’ve scrutinised investments in media planning, media buying and production costs. They’ve exploited the media transparency issue to audit and change media agency contracts.

They’ve explored the opportunity to create internal agencies. They’ve spawned an industry of specialised consultants to support them in their efforts — benchmarking consultants, media auditors, search consultants, contract specialists, compensation specialists and pure cost-cutting consultants.

Ad agencies view procurement’s growing power with horror. Procurement is the acknowledged enemy. This short-sighted view of procurement may doom agencies to further attacks.

There’s another way to go.

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Organisational Mishmash: The Ad Agency’s Unaccountable Structure

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.

Agency Structure

The global ad agency has become a complex, unmanageable mishmash of organisational positions. Complexity reigns. Accountability is invisible if it exists at all. No wonder clients are able to take such advantage of their agencies, loading on unpaid out-of-scope work and cutting fees! Top agency executives, though aware of the problem, are unable to launch a management counter-offensive. No one has the responsibility for the problem or the authority to turn things around.

Existing clients.

Let’s consider the case of existing agency clients. They fall into two buckets: 1) single office clients managed by local GADs (Group Account Directors), and 2) multi-office global clients managed by ECDs (Executive Client Directors), who have local GADs on their extended teams to oversee local operations.

Single office clients.

A GAD is the point person for a single office client, planning / agreeing on Scopes of Work (SOWs) and fees, and organising the delivery of strategies and creative executions that ought to enhance client brand performance.

The GAD reports to an Office Head, the Office Head reports to a Regional Head, and the Regional Head reports to the agency CEO. There should be a straight line of accountability from the GAD to the CEO, with management reviews providing a flow of information that answers questions like “what kind of work are we doing for this client? How much work? Is it the right work for the brand problems? What level of fees are we receiving? Are the fees adequate to cover the required resources? Is the account profitable? What are our ambitions for this client in the future? What must we do to fix fee / workload problems?”

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The impact of economies of scale on scope of work cost

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 second in a series of articles on agency scope of work management. Managing the scope of work for your agency is possibly the easiest and fastest way to increase the buying power of your marketing budget by removing the duplication and uncertainty as much as possible from the agency work. In this way you are able to get more for your agency budget without simply driving down the rates and prices. Read the first article here

Agency scope of work cost

There has been a dramatic increase in the outputs agencies are producing for their clients these days, especially due to content marketing, social media and digital advertising. The multiplier effect on the scope of work can inflate the agency fee without the allowance for economies of scale. But economies of scale must be applied carefully to avoid undermining the process.

The impact of content and digital on the scope of work

The real time, always on capability is driving agency scope of work. Sure it was possible for a major retailer to have advertising each week, but social content and digital advertising can require tens and hundreds of thousands of pieces of content every year.

In a recent scope of work we identified the need for the agency to produce more than 200 pieces of content per week (that is more than 5000 outputs per year) and that is for one brand and just for Facebook alone. Expand this to all of the other social media platforms and digital advertising, plus throw in the owned media such as website landing pages for each campaign message and we hit more than 25,000 outputs for the agency on one brand.

But consider that if you informed the agency that you needed 5,000 Facebook content pieces the agency would calculate an allowance for resources to produce one and then possible multiply it by 5,000. Or having seen the resultant cost they will probably discount it, but by how much and why? Continue reading “The impact of economies of scale on scope of work cost”

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Discovering your strategy with a business strategy story

This post is by Shawn Callahan, author of Putting Stories to Work, and one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire.

Business Strategy

Companies often mistake planning for strategy. This seems to be particularly true of large organisations.

A few years back, we got a call from a large company headquartered in the Netherlands. Their head of strategy felt that their people didn’t understand the company strategy – a common concern across most big businesses. The strategy group consisted of 20 people, which is a lot by any measure. When I asked them to describe their strategy, they could spell out initiatives but were unable to put their fingers on the strategic choices the business had made to win.

Strategy involves choice

In his seminal book on strategy, Richard Rumelt makes it clear that unclear choices make bad strategy: ‘Strategy involves focus and, therefore, choice. And choice means setting aside some goals in favor of others’.* The 20 people in the strategy group were planners. There was a portfolio of things to do, goals to reach, stretch targets to make, but as Rumelt says, when the hard work of making clear choices isn’t done, ‘weak, amorphous strategy is the result’.

Choices are the grist of strategy stories. When the leaders in a business decide to offshore certain services rather than keep them in-house, they have made a choice. The strategy story can help them explain why that choice has been made.

Because companies don’t always make clear choices, it’s often necessary to first get everyone on the same page when it comes to strategy. We’ve found that working with an executive team to craft their strategy story helps their choices to emerge and then clarifies them, so that everyone around the table not only understands what choices were made, but also why they were made. Most importantly, after working on the telling of that story, they will be able to relate it to anyone face-to-face, without a PowerPoint crutch.

The benefits of the business strategy story

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Managing Marketing: The business challenges facing marketers and their brands

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.

Mahesh Enjeti, Managing Director of SIA Marketing Counsel discusses with Darren the issues facing marketers today and the important role of brand in not just providing a customer promise or proposition but to define the purpose of the business or organisation for all stakeholders and to support the value proposition of the business through tangible financial contributions to the business success.

Mahesh Enjeti podcast

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today I’m catching up with a long-time friend of TrinityP3’s and mine, Mahesh Enjeti who is the Managing Director of SAI Marketing Council. But Mahesh I notice that you’re also a self-proclaimed brand developer, architect, builder and restorer.

Mahesh:

Thanks, Darren. I suppose that’s what I’ve been doing all my 40 plus years in marketing. I’ve lived with brands, breathed with brands. I’ve created brands, nurtured them, rebranded them, re-launched them, re-positioned them so I suppose I could claim the title of being a developer, being a builder, being an architect, and all that, yeah.

Darren:

Well I’m glad because one of the things that I’m getting particularly agitated and irritated about is that a lot of people seem to be forgetting what brands are and how important they are.

Have you noticed the same trend?

Mahesh:

I think that’s probably more as a result of confusion between brand and branding. A lot of people seem to  mistake branding for brands. And I look at brand as something more fundamental, deeper in terms of who you are and what you stand for, and what’s your purpose. But more importantly (something which is not often discussed) how do you behave?

How do you behave with your customers, with your suppliers, with the environment, with the society, even with the tax office? I think all that goes into who you are and what your brand is.

Darren:

Because you do quite a bit of speaking, especially lecturing, how do you describe brands to someone that’s coming into the industry for the first time or a brand?

Defining the concept of brands

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How to define an agency scope of work to deliver increased 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.

This is the first in a series of articles on agency scope of work management. Managing the scope of work for your agency is possibly the easiest and fastest way to increase the buying power of your marketing budget by removing the duplication and uncertainty as much as possible from the agency work. In this way you are able to get more for your agency budget without simply driving down the rates and prices.

Agency scope of work

But why is specificity so important? Anyone that is involved in manufacturing, construction or technology knows, by clearly defining and specifying the actual requirements upfront you are better able to plan and execute the construction/manufacturing process more efficiently and effectively.

What is required for a high quality scope or work

While in a dynamic market it may be difficult to specify all of the marketing requirements for the year ahead, that does not mean you should not specify the requirements that are known and even include those requirements that are most probable.

It is too easy to say that it is not 100% definite and postpone the process, but this comes at the expense of either having the agency allow for, in their retainer and fees, what ever you may throw at them later, at a premium cost.

This is why marketers need to prepare agency scopes of work that are detailed, defined and specific in a way that allows the agency to be able to estimate resource requirements, scheduling and costs. It also allows marketers to review and manage their requirements in a more strategic way with a scope of work providing the basis of the plan.

Outputs can be tangible and intangible

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The natural fear of driving blind with your advertising media budget

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.

Since the release of the ANA K2 Report on Media Transparency  and now with Marc Pritchard, CMO of Procter & Gamble and Chairman of the ANA calling on the digital media industry to sort out their industry,  many advertisers are in the difficult situation of knowing the need to address this issue but equally confused as to what to do first.

Part of this is due to the complex nature of the digital media buying value chain, but it is also a fear of any changes revealing where they were possibly getting it wrong.

Just as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) will often drive marketers into action when it comes to embracing new technology like Virtual and Augmented Reality, FOBFO (Fear Of Being Found Out) is often paralysing some advertisers from making the changes they need to make in the context of the very public statements of where digital media is failing.

Advertising media budget.

Beautifully summed up in a conversation with one marketer who said “It’s like I’m driving a car at night with the lights off, I cannot see the road ahead or even where I am going. But all I can hear is the voice of the agency coming from the back seat telling me to go faster”.

Lets look at what is creating this darkness and fear and more importantly what can marketers and advertisers do to take control of the situation and get it sorted out.

Lack of transparency

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Cut through the clutter in your marketing technology stack

This post is by Kylie Ridler-Dutton, Marketing Management Consultant at TrinityP3. Kylie is a discipline neutral specialist with consulting and implementation experience spanning across retail, alcohol, utilities and telecommunications.

Marketing technology Stack

The technology transformation era has caused businesses to sit up and take note that in order to sustain your brand for future growth and profit you need to invest in the latest technology to keep up with….what exactly?

This question, and often panic, has led to businesses investing in multiple technology solutions and internal marketing departments facing restructure to manage the investment, which ultimately leads to more (poor) investment.

Sometimes businesses get it right investing in technology and sometimes it can lead to dormant software and marketing divisions not really achieving results. Which leads to the big question that often cannot be answered, or in most cases is not even being asked ‘What has the ROI been on that investment?’

Technology and Resources Audit

Recent client engagement has seen TrinityP3 initiate the evaluation of a company’s technology resources and internal team structures. Our first question is always;

Do you have an integrated marketing-technology strategy?

Our evaluation process:

  1. A technology audit – what is there currently under licence, what is actively being utilised and how is it utilised throughout the business?
  2. Review of technology resources and who accesses them.
  3. How does it link back to the strategy and therefore the marketing plan. The plans should both consider internal evaluation and acquisition of technology.

Technology and the potential ROI in business

Often, we uncover that the technology is the right fit for the client’s business except it is not being used to its full potential. Continue reading “Cut through the clutter in your marketing technology stack”

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