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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Why providing consultancy with integrity is more important than ever

Consultants. They often get a bad rap, particularly in the marketing industry. I work with many clients in a consultative capacity, across anything from bespoke vision or structural alignment projects, through contractual and remuneration assessment, to market pitches or agency selection work. I’ve also worked with many consultants in my agency days. The majority of the clients we work with are pretty happy. I would like to say that the majority of agencies we’ve worked with are – well, at least not unhappy – with the way in which we handle them. Continue reading

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Retuning the Marketing ‘Orchestra’

The marketing ‘orchestra’ needs to be reorganised and re-tuned. The orchestra players are highly skilled and totally dedicated. The problem is, they’re playing different scores, even if the music was written by the same composer. The first violins are playing a Bach fugue. The second violins are performing a Bach prelude. The cellos are holding their own with the Second Brandenburg concerto. The string bass players are improvising – Bach jazz-fusion. And the conductor? Frustrated, he / she stops the playing. “Again, the Bach! From the top!” Continue reading

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CMOs, Shareholder Value and the Decline of Marketing Risk-Taking

You’d have to be older than a Millennial to remember a time when corporate CEOs were heavily involved in marketing decisions, like increased spend on media, the development of new Big Idea ads, the launching of new consumer products (rather than the spitting out of line extensions) and the formulation of strategies designed to outsmart competitors. That was a time before “shareholder value” became the universal corporate objective — the value to be delivered to shareholders because of management’s ability to grow earnings, dividends and share price. Continue reading

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Managing Marketing: The role of innovation, creativity and technology in driving change

Annalie Killian is the Director of Human Networks at Sparks & Honey and was the Founder and Curator of the AMPlify Festival. Here she talks with Darren on the role of creativity and innovation in driving change through organisations and the importance for organisations to embrace change and technology to stay relevant. 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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5 questions to help charities drive a greater return on marketing investment

In the highly concentrated charity sector*, charities must evolve from making people feel sorry to give money, to being truly people centric in approaching their mission.
So with clutter being the constant, the world’s best charities and not-for-profit organisations are transforming their organisation and marketing strategies around actionable data insights. Aimed at helping them inform the direction and stories that people are interested in when it comes to a relevant mission. 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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How to build flexibility into an agency scope of work

Being able to plan all of your requirements of the agency for the coming year is an ideal situation. But the world and the market is often an unpredictable place and your brand strategy needs to be able to frame how your responds to the changes in the market place. Luckily there is a way to frame your agency scope of work in a way that lets you obtain the benefits of the increased efficiency. Continue reading

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Organisational Mishmash: The Ad Agency’s Unaccountable Structure

The global ad agency has become a complex, unmanageable mishmash of organisational positions. Complexity reigns. Accountability is invisible if it exists at all. No wonder clients are able to take such advantage of their agencies, loading on unpaid out-of-scope work and cutting fees! Top agency executives, though aware of the problem, are unable to launch a management counter-offensive. No one has the responsibility for the problem or the authority to turn things around. Continue reading

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