8 ‘Less Obvious’ Reasons Why Agencies Lose Pitches

Pitches can be very capricious. The blend of human intuition, rhetoric, substance and circumstance can make even the best agency lose over the course of a pitch process. No one says that it’s perfect. But there’s a world of difference between a well-run pitch process and a bad one. Some mistakes are clichés…some are not. There are some pitch mistakes, made by agencies, which are obvious although often repeated (chest thumping attitude, not listening, not bringing the right people, banging on about oneself, profound gender skews in meeting rooms, etc). Continue reading

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Am I allowed to audit my agency?

Having read “The 105th thing on your to do list” you will now know what kind of audit you’re looking to conduct. So what’s the next step? Before you go out looking for an auditor, you need to check that you are actually ‘allowed’ to audit your agency and, if you are, what can and can’t be audited. And so to find the contract. Your right to audit should be covered in the agency contract and should be fairly easy to find – look in your ‘Contracts’ folder and voilà, a beautifully filed copy of a fully signed contract between you and your agency will be sitting there waiting for you. Continue reading

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The 105th thing on your ‘to do’ list may be the most important…

So imagine the scenario: you’ve got a set marketing budget that seems to be squeezed year-on-year; new opportunities arise that need to be tested; old, well-trodden routes to market need to be sustained; constant evaluations need to be done to ensure you’re nimble and maximising the opportunities; and your parent company has just issued the (annual) email to say that it’s putting a stop on spending any uncommitted budget at the end of the month. Sound familiar? Continue reading

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Cost benchmarking and value benchmarking your agency, which one gives the best results?

In response to the question of “What is a cynic?” Oscar Wilde wrote “A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. When it comes to agency benchmarking it is hard not to be cynical. Recently Michael Farmer, author of best seller industry book “Madison Avenue Manslaughter” and Executive Chairman of TrinityP3 published an article highlighting the shortcoming of agency benchmarking, specifically agency cost benchmarking: Why cost benchmarking is the waterboarding of the advertising industry. How do we stop the manslaughter and increase agency productivity and performance? The first step is to stop cost benchmarking and move the focus to performance. Here is why. Continue reading

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Why cost benchmarking is the waterboarding of the advertising industry

Procurement and benchmarking rose to corporate prominence once “increased shareholder value” became the advertiser’s mantra. Marketing declined in importance, from an investment to achieve brand growth to a cost to be optimised. Benchmarking consultants jumped on the bandwagon. 4As shamefully accepted the ANA benchmarking trend with hardly a whimper, leaving its members to fend for themselves. Benchmarking is the waterboarding of the industry, enhanced interrogation that weakens its subjects but develops no useful information. Although benchmarking has become commonplace, it has had no positive long-term benefits. Indeed, the opposite is true — advertiser brands are still not growing, CMOs last in their jobs only half as long as CEOs and agencies have been compromised and weakened. Continue reading

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Agency Remuneration: A Loser’s Game

Chief Marketing Officers and their colleagues in procurement have been driving down agency remuneration for more than a decade. Simultaneously, they have been growing Scopes of Work, experimenting with digital and social marketing. Is marketing getting something for nothing, or is it playing a loser’s game? Advertiser-agency relationships have devolved over the past several decades. What was once the strongest of strategic relationships during the golden age of the Creative Revolution has become lopsided and imbalanced. Continue reading

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Managing Marketing: The challenges facing the advertising agency business model

Andrew Reeves is the Founder and CEO of ARC Limited with a lifetime of experience as an agency CFO. Here he chats with Darren on the current agency remuneration and business models and the challenges facing agencies in finding ways to make this work in rewarding agencies for the value they create. Continue reading

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It’s more than the agency roster and the scope of work. It’s the relationship, stupid!

The disappearance of AOR relationships between advertisers and their creative agencies was not a good thing for either party. Both are at fault for letting this happen, and now both parties have suffered the consequences. Advertisers have to manage complex portfolios of specialised agencies who compete for a portion of the total fee. Advertisers have to take the responsibility for planning the detailed Scopes of Work and decide which agencies will be briefed for which deliverables. Continue reading

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Who’s to blame for the current digital media mess? We all are.

Commentary regarding the various issues facing the digital advertising industry continues to grow. Dishonesty, corruption, complexity, lack of knowledge, inadequate marketing, inadequate agencies, inadequate measurement…the list goes on. Based on the work we do with our clients, these issues are certainly becoming more recognised – even if many advertisers are still extremely challenged in their understanding of who, or what, they need to look at. The trouble is, so much of the commentary lacks objectivity. Continue reading

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Why it is so important to have an agency scope of work

This is the final in our 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. Continue reading

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