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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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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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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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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Managing Marketing: The increasing role of science in marketing and advertising

Adam Ferrier is a Consumer Psychologist and the co-founder of MSIX the Marketing Science Ideas Exchange and best selling co-author of The Advertising Effect. Here he talks with Darren about the role of science in marketing and the importance of the symbiotic relationship between the Mad Men and the Math Men in driving innovation, creativity and most importantly performance. Continue reading

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Marketing independence is under attack but does anyone care?

Surprise, surprise. When you meet with a technology vendor, the conversation invariably leads to “needing” their solution. Even though you discuss alternative business opportunities that require solving prior to any technology implementation. Surprise, surprise. You appoint one of the big consultancy firms, such as Deloitte or PWC, and you start down a pipeline of creative and digital discussions that can all be magically solved now under their banner. Continue reading

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Heaven and Hell in Advertising

Share175 Tweet76 +18 Share10Shares 269This 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 … Continue reading

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How many brief types does an advertiser need to brief their agency?

I have noticed recently there have been a number of consultants and industry commentators again talking about the perennial problem of briefing. Quite rightly too, because in the endless search for advertising effectiveness, the process starts with the brief. Joe Talcott, ex-McDonald’s Marketing Chief and Creative Evangelist highlights nine big mistakes he notices marketers make when briefing. Meanwhile Casey Jones, CEO at BriefLogic shared advice on why marketing briefs should not be brief and the important difference between the marketing brief and the agency brief. 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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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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Time to pitch your agency or not? And when it is the only answer

That indeed is the question many marketers ask themselves when agencies aren’t performing. Given one of our services at TrinityP3 is Pitch Consultancy, and I get paid to be a Pitch Consultant, one might think I would answer: “Pitch of course!” But alas, you would be mistaken to think I would say that without asking a few very pointed questions first. Continue reading

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