Why Squeezing More From Your Agency Can Be A Really Bad Idea

Are you a marketer that wants to squeeze more from your agency? Do you feel like they should be doing more? Delivering better results? Turning things around faster? All sound like good ideas, right? So if like most marketers you’d find these kinds of attributes desirable from your agency(s), then read on. Continue reading

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Confused About the Advertising Industry? Who Isn’t? Read On!

Holding company shares are falling. Their ad agencies are shrinking, with low morale, low salaries and hiring freezes. Accenture and Deloitte are the new, growing competitors. Advertisers are cutting spend but investing in-house. Chief Creative Officers are disappearing, not entirely due to sexual harassment charges. Confused by some or all of this? Read on! Continue reading

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Leadership Trials of the Agency CEO

We don’t get to pick the era we live in.  We’re human, though, and we dream about other times and other places.  Given a choice, today’s agency CEOs might dream about turning back the clock sixty years or so, when the world — and the ad agency within it — was much simpler and a lot more fun. Television was new and growing in 1958.  There were only 40 million TV households (today’s number is 120 million) and the agency’s creative challenge was how to get better at TV and print — and grow even faster than the post-war economy.   Continue reading

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Is ZBB (Zero-Based Budgeting) Mismanaged by Advertisers?

WPP points the finger at ZBB as the most important factor driving cuts in WPP’s agency revenues — cuts that have taken 35% off WPP’s share price from its 2017 high.  Leading industry analyst Brian Wieser identifies ZBB as a major factor suppressing holding company organic growth, along with other factors like increased contract scrutiny Continue reading

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Retained AOR or project fees? Which one is best?

While I have previously shared thoughts on comparing rate cards with retainers in 2008, ways to improve retainers in 2009 and most recently the considerations before moving from retainers to project fees in 2016 , I have not actually provided a comparison of pros and cons for advertisers and agencies.
Yet in the past five years we have had an avalanche of advertisers asking us for help moving their agency remuneration from retainers to project fees. Continue reading

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Ten common problems with agency retainers

Reading the trade media on the trend towards agency project fees, you would think that the agency retainer is dead, (along with the Agency of Record). And while the ANA Agency Compensation Survey shows that the retainer is not as common as it once was, it still accounts for a significant proportion of major agency remuneration models and is well and truly alive and well. But lets be honest, while the agency retainer is often set and forget, it has a few problems especially with the way many of these retainers are set up and managed. In fact while many advertisers and their agencies often default to the retainer model it has more problems then most are willing to recognise. Makes you wonder why it became so popular in the first place. Continue reading

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Who are the real victims in the lack of transparency in advertising production?

Last year the ANA responded to the investigation by the Department of Justice into Agency production practices and included this in their call for greater transparency in advertiser and agency relationships. The concern was that agencies and especially the Holding Companies that own the agency groups, were competitively tendering for advertiser commercial productions against the independent production companies in an unfair and biased manner. Continue reading

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What Happens When the Magic of Creativity No Longer Works?

In barbaric and prehistoric times, before primitive man invented religion and prayed to gods for intercessions, man was isolated and alone, facing an uncertain and terrifying world that worked by its own logic. Would the sun rise every day?  Would winter fade and spring follow in its stead? Would there be fish to catch, prey to hunt, rain for water and crops, bountiful harvests, cures for disease, pregnancy and babies, victory in war?  Would the tribe flourish?  Tribes were like advertisers today, looking for certainties and prosperity in a hostile world. Continue reading

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Top 5 dumb ways to use data in marketing

With the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica data scandal, data privacy and usage is a pretty hot topic. So strap yourself in. Here we go. Continue reading

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The Ad Industry in 2018 – The Year of Magical Thinking

Sir Martin Sorrell, the industry’s most prominent agency spokesman, now has the difficult job of explaining, on behalf of WPP and of the industry in general, why revenue growth has been so difficult to achieve and what can be done about it. Continue reading

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How Ready Are You For Agency Pay For Performance?

When it comes to assessing, reassessing or creating new agency contracts, most marketers now ask us about structuring some kind of pay for performance terms as part of their overall agreement. But coming up with a pay for performance model is actually the easy part. The hard part is ensuring our clients are corporately prepared for what pay for performance really means, the implications for managing such agreements and how they need to be administered. Continue reading

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Lower Cost Does Not Mean Higher Quality in the Ad Industry

If we were on a guided tour of the advertising industry, here are the points of interest that ought to be on every sightseer’s list. 1) The Advertisers.  “Lower cost” is their strategy du jour, with reductions in media spend, cuts in agency fees, continued use of cost benchmarks and investments in less expensive internal agencies.  Amazing!  Increased shareholder value — marketing with the stroke of a pen, crossing out columns of unnecessary figures. Continue reading

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Marketers and Procurement Who Want to Talk Turkey With Their Agencies Can Learn A Lot From Chickens

OK, what the heck have chickens got to do with marketing and procurement teams negotiating with their agencies? The answer is: Everything. It goes like this: If you’d been craving some Kentucky Fried Chicken in the United Kingdom a few weeks ago you’d have been out of luck and perhaps crossing the street to Burger King instead. Why? Because at the end of last year, KFC chose to change to DHL, a lower cost distributor, which, as it turned out, provided a poorer quality of service with little or no contingency planning. Continue reading

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Marc Prichard, the low creative ratio at your agencies is not their fault, it’s yours

Okay, perhaps not yours Marc, but when you recently stated that you would like three quarters of your agencies to be creative, it made me reflect on the literally hundreds of agency remuneration deals we have benchmarked, negotiated and managed over the past 18 years and the fact that in every case the agency resources required were directly related to the requirements and expectations of the marketers. Continue reading

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Who’s In Charge? Marketing or Procurement?

Whether you’re a client looking for marketing services, or an agency pitching your wares, the question of who’s really calling the shots can be a pivotal one. On the one hand, the organisational perspective might be that marketing teams are evaluated on and are seeking things like improved performance, chemistry harmony between teams and agencies, creative brilliance and / or strategic smarts. Continue reading

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