Who Can Join the Madison Avenue Makeover Club?

The Madison Avenue Makeover Club is an exclusive one.  Want to join?  If you have to ask, you’re not invited.  It’s more exclusive than the Bohemian or Belizean Groves, or the Alfalfa and Yellowstone Clubs put together. Thinking about the Trilateral Commission? Bilderberg Group?  They’re a piece of cake. The Makeover Club (we’re insiders, and that’s what we call it) invented the word exclusive. It’s posh, privileged, swank, ritzy, respected — and open to the exclusive few who can qualify.  It’s not for the Madison Avenue Masses or the perpetual victims of Madison Avenue Manslaughter. Membership rules are very strict.  Want to know more? Continue reading

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Managing Marketing: The impact of deregulation on the dramatically changing advertising industry

Simon Canning is a well-known and highly respected marketing commentator who has worked on both the trade media and agency side for the past 25 years. Here he shares and discusses the changes, but more importantly the key decisions and their impact and implications on the advertising industry today. Continue reading

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What Is Plan B for Ad Agencies and Holding Companies?

We’re all familiar with “Plan B.”  It emerges out of the haze when Plan A has self-destructed for one of a thousand reasons.  An unexpected snowstorm cancels our flight. We’ll have to scrub a key meeting.  Too bad.  On to Plan B. If  there is no Plan B, we’ll have to improvise.  We’re usually unhappy with Plan B.  It’s a necessity, born of circumstance.  We shrug our shoulders, wistful and disappointed.  Oh, well.  Plan A was so much better!  But … it isn’t happening. Continue reading

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2017 in review and predictions for 2018 from the TrinityP3 marketing management consultants

How was your 2017? What were the highlights of the year for you? And what is your top priority for next year? What was the trend that affected marketing this year? And what will most impact marketing in the coming year? As this year comes to a close it is time for reflecting on the year that was and looking towards the year ahead. We put those questions to the TrinityP3 Marketing Management Consultants and here are their answers plus some advice for marketers for the year ahead. Continue reading

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How To Transform Your Agency Relationships!

This week, we thought it would be worthwhile looking at some ideas to help transform your agency relationships. And we don’t mean just make them ‘bearable’ – we’re talking about making a transformative shift in the overall relationship and yes, better business results. As a general rule, the earlier we’re brought into to help identify and resolve client / agency issues, the more likelihood there is of being able to help clients avoid triggering a search, and instead getting their agency relationships not just back on the track – but transformed into positive, business building partnerships. Continue reading

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Madison Avenue Moneyball: Insights About the Game of Advertising

By now, we know what “Moneyball” is:  The best-selling book about baseball by Michael Lewis (2003), the Academy Award-nominated movie with Brad Pitt (2011) and — most importantly — the underlying concept that obscure metrics reveal the truth about how the game of baseball works.  Moneyball general managers, like Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s, could consistently win games despite payroll disadvantages that prevented the A’s from hiring expensive talent.  Lewis asked, “How’d they do it?  What was their secret?” Continue reading

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Why Agency Makeovers are Difficult

Organisational stability is what we seek.  We struggle to make order out of daily chaos.  We yearn for the illusive: understanding and respect from clients, the successful management of deadlines, the creation of effective work, the achievement of personal satisfaction, the comfort that comes from knowing that we and our organisations are valuable partners — that we fit in and, for better or worse, that we successfully occupy a little corner of the world. Isn’t that what our daily efforts are all about? Continue reading

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How many billable hours are there in a year?

If you are still working with agency retainers then the issue of billable hours per person will definitely be an issue. Too high and too low both have impacts on the retainer calculations and the result. But what is the right number of billable hours per year? Well it depends and in my time working with advertisers around the world it has varied from a ridiculously low 1,200 per year up to a mind-blowing 2,080 hours per year. But why is this so important? Continue reading

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Madison Avenue Makeover: How Can Advertisers use Agencies to Restore Growth and Profitability for their Lackluster Brands?

Who is suffering the most from Madison Avenue’s manslaughter? Agencies, who see declining fees and growing workloads, and have been downsizing to generate holding company margins — while slowly destroying their capabilities? Or advertisers, whose brands are languishing, putting CMO tenure at risk?
Relationships look like speed-dating matchups that end up as one-night stands with disappointing sex. Something needs to change. Madison Avenue needs a makeover. Advertisers need to kick-start their brands’ performance. Continue reading

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How to know if you need to pitch your agency

I often get asked by our clients to see them ‘about running an agency pitch’. The decision to pitch, for whatever reason, is generally already taken by the time they speak to me. Yet sometimes, based on what I hear, my advice is ‘actually, don’t pitch’, for a number of reasons. Reviewing an agency can often be an intuitive reaction to a given situation, change or perception. But, of course, this doesn’t always make ‘pitching’ the best option. Loss of IP, disruption to your BAU communications, internal stress and diversion of resource, and the risk of ‘new relationships with the same problems’ are all challenges associated with making the decision to go to market for something shiny and new. Continue reading

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What happens when the best agencies are no longer interested in pitching for your business?

Recently we have read reports from the CEO of WPP, Sir Martin Sorell and even our own Executive Chairman, Michael Farmer, talking about the almost irrational motivation of agencies to pitch for and win business at any cost. Certainly, with so many agencies in the market, you would think there is no shortage of candidates to pitch for an advertisers business. But the fact is that not all agencies are equal, yes, some are more equal, or perhaps more desirable than others. In any market there are a handful of agencies that are considered outstanding and then there are the others and behind them the ‘also-rans’. Continue reading

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Do You Really, Truly Want to Transform Your Agency?

Are you tired of being shoved around by clients?  Worried about your fees?  Missing your budgets?  Is your creativity undervalued?  Are your best people quitting for better jobs?  Do benchmarkers set your fees? Do you remember the good old days, when you trod the gilded C-Suite corridors?  When you were treated with respect?  When your work was award-winning and it really mattered?  When what you did made a difference?  Friend, you need a transformation.  A real transformation. Continue reading

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Ad Industry’s Talent Crisis is a Symptom, Not a Disease

ANA was brave to issue a “scathing report” (per AdAge) on the lack of talent in the advertising industry.  Certain outsiders were fingered as contributing to the talent problem: universities that “aren’t keeping pace with the industry’s changing needs” and consultancies and tech giants that are offering “more generous salaries and perks.”  (Shame on them!) On top of this, Millennials remain an enigma — why aren’t they more eager to enter the industry?  What ANA did not describe were the day-to-day operations of advertisers and agencies that have turned the advertising working environment into a relatively unattractive one for job-seeking graduates, a trend that has been in swing and gaining momentum for the past 15 years.  Continue reading

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Can management consultants teach ‘value’ to the advertising agencies?

It is interesting to see how the advertising industry has reacted to the recent acquisition play of the management consultant firms like Accenture and PWC. Some people embrace the trend while others are sceptical as to the efficacy of the strategy. Will Accenture be able to leverage the value of their investment in Karmarama and Monkeys on opposite sides of the world? Or will what is seen as fundamental cultural differences cause it to fail? Time will tell. Continue reading

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Why working / non-working ratios no longer work for advertising

As an industry we love our terms. Usually they are TLA (Three Letter Acronyms) like ATL, BTL and TTL. Or RFP, RFT and RFIs. And marketing technology digital buzz words are making this even crazier.

But there is a concept which has recently made a prominent return to the industry and yet it is totally outdated and no longer relevant. That is Working and Non-Working Spend. The reason for the sudden resurgence is a combination of management consultants who are pushing Zero Based Budgeting, not so much to drive marketing performance and return on investment, but more as a marketing investment framework to reduce the marketing investment and therefore budget.

The second source is the increased activity in investments in traditional consumer package goods brand companies by private equity and venture capital, and their use of the term to inform the market that they have magically discovered the investment strategy to turn the flagging performance of these entities around by simply reducing non-working spend and improving the working to non-working ratio.

In fact, as I write this, it seems so self-evident that you wonder why the schmucks that owned the business before it was bought by these clever investors had not done this already. Why wouldn’t you reduce non-working spend. After all, if it is non-working why are you spending anything on it anyway? Continue reading

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