Ad Agencies are Just 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! Continue reading

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

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. Continue reading

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Agencies Struggle with Declining Prices

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? Continue reading

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Is there nothing fair or reasonable about agency remuneration?

During more than 15 years of agency benchmarking and negotiations two words I have heard often 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. Continue reading

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What are the biggest challenges facing marketing today?

Back in February this year we had our twice yearly get together in Sydney will 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. Continue reading

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The Terrible Outcomes of Lower 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. Continue reading

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Where can Global Advertisers find the best Creative Value?

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. Continue reading

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

Share58 Tweet71 +111 Share11Shares 151This 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 If you’re reading this thinking it may be an easy fix guide to squeezing the living daylights … Continue reading

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

I’ve just read the latest ANA report, ‘Programmatic: Seeing through the Financial Fog’. Published last week 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.’ Continue reading

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Ignorance of Pricing is Ruining Ad Agencies

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. Continue reading

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What is going on with advertising creative awards?

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. Continue reading

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Cannes. And Agency Crocodile Tears Over Remuneration

Yes, it’s almost that time of year again when the advertising community celebrates the best of the best at Cannes. Until 2012 it was known as the ‘International Advertising Festival’ then renamed the ‘Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity‘ as it’s known today. And it’s that ‘creativity’ piece that’s got me (and not in a good way). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating, sharing and focusing on creativity on a global scale and recognising the very best creative talent on the planet. But to me, this not-so little ‘festival of creativity’ has somehow lost its way and taken a nosedive into commercialism and excess that’s worthy of having a flashy ‘Trump’ logo emblazoned upon it. Continue reading

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Are Advertisers “Bad Hombres” for Their Ad Agencies?

Ad agencies have had a tough time for the past decade. Reduced retainers. Disappearing AOR relationships, as clients expanded their portfolios of agencies. Inflating Scopes of Work, straining the capabilities of agencies’ downsized and juniorised staffs. There’s more to this. Auction-based bidding of SOW projects. Inhouse agencies. Advertising relationships embracing management consulting firms. Significantly shortened agency-client relationships. Continue reading

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The Low Road or the High Road for Ad Agencies compensation?

The industry road that ad agencies are wandering down is about to narrow. Sooner or later, agencies will find themselves at a fork that is less like a choice and more like an inevitably. The fork will not involve a 50-50 choice. Heads to the left; tails to the right? No; it’s not that kind of fork. The choice will be between the High Road, to the left, and the Low Road to the right. The choice is not about political choice during this Trumpian age. It’s not about Blue States to the left or Red States to the right. It’s not about brands-as-causes versus brands-as-brands. Continue reading

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Industry Transparency Is a One-Way Mirror

Advertisers have found many ways to dominate and commoditise their ad agency relationships. Transparency is the latest hot issue, justifying outrage over certain media agency practices and setting the stage for reviews of media contracts and fees. Agency hiring and firing remain another advertiser favourite, and the pace of agency replacement has certainly quickened over time. Next in line are declining fees and growing creative Scopes of Work, along with benchmarking studies, the threat of internal agencies, intellectual property disputes, project-based bidding and lengthened payment terms. Continue reading

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