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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Have It Your Way: A Marketing Award for a Commercial Mess

Once upon a time, we learned that marketing had something to do with creating, keeping and satisfying customers.  Marketing success created growth and profitability. Chief Marketing Officers had this responsibility and they spent gads of money with their media and creative agencies to make it happen. When economies were growing, especially in the decades after the Second World War, marketing was a straightforward activity and CMOs were successful.  Recent times have been more troublesome, with e-commerce, digital/social and those pesky Millennials killing brand growth. Continue reading

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The mismanaged creative agency pitch

There was a creative pitch many years ago for Stanley Cook, manufacturer of Titan Nails at the time, later sold to BHP and then Otter Group. Anyway they briefed six creative agencies, about three too many, to come up with an ad campaign over the weekend to encourage builders and tradesmen to choose the Titan brand over the cheaper Asian nail imports. On the Monday morning the agencies filed in one after the other to present to the Managing Director, the Marketing Director and the Head of Sales at the time. Each agency had had basically three days to put a campaign together and 45 mins to present it to the senior management of Stanley Cook Limited. 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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Who Will Put “Accountability” Back in “Account Management?”

Account managers were giants of accountability during the Mad Men era, when agencies were paid by media commissions and it was important to convince client executives, up and down the line, that high media spending was good for brands. Everyone benefited from this.  TV advertising was effective, so clients and brands benefited from this account management salesmanship.  TV advertising unleashed the agency’s creative capabilities and allowed creatives to flourish and do their best work. Continue reading

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Ageism in advertising is as much a cost issue as a perception one

uis Loizou, a Freelance creative Director in the UK recently shared on Linkedin his thoughts “I’m not 54. I’m 22 with 32 years experience”.  It is a passionate and considered argument for why older advertising creative professionals have not passed their used by date, but are actually “still passionate but with pragmatism and discipline”. Continue reading

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The challenges in measuring the value your agencies contribute to your marketing

How do you calculate or assess the value of your marketing spend? In the past three years we have had a large number of projects designed to achieve just that – a fact based assessment of the value of the marketing spend. Specifically marketing communications or advertising and largely focusing on spend with external agencies and suppliers. Continue reading

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How Financial Services is approaching agency rosters and remuneration – Three case studies

Financial Services is particularly competitive. Already there are a plethora of brands across the category, there is now significant disruption caused by FinTech start-ups, plus increased competition and fragmentation of the category.The market leaders are focused on innovating and transforming to stay ahead of the competition, but they are also looking for more effective and efficient ways to build and maintain their share of market and share of customer wallet. Continue reading

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Plan B: Turning the Madison Avenue Manslaughter into a much needed makeover – Part 2

On Tuesday December 4, 2017 Michael Farmer, author of the award winning marketing business book Madison Avenue Manslaughter presented his Plan B for the industry to turn the manslaughter into a make over that would get brands and agencies moving again. This is the transcript and video of the second of three parts of that presentation where he defines the issues that Plan B must address to be successful. What is Plan B? Before you decide what Plan B is, decide what kind of Plan A problems have to be solved. I think a lot of people are getting this wrong because you hear people say, ‘our real problem is there is no talent’ or ‘we are not digital enough’ or ‘there are too many pitches’ or ‘the bench markers’. Continue reading

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Plan B: Turning the Madison Avenue Manslaughter into a much needed makeover – Part 1

On Tuesday December 4, 2017 Michael Farmer, author of the award winning marketing business book Madison Avenue Manslaughter presented his Plan B for the industry to turn the manslaughter into a make over that would get brands and agencies moving again. This is the transcript and video of the first of three parts of that presentation where he defines why the industry needs a Plan B. Continue reading

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Is it time marketers rethink agency competitive conflicts of interest?

A major and complex issue for marketers when looking for new agencies, or going to market with a tender, is concerns over conflict of interest. That is, not wanting to select an agency that already has a client that is a competitor. But what constitutes a competitive conflict will vary from advertisers to advertiser and category to category. It will also increasingly vary as the relationships between advertisers and their agencies evolve. Some categories are incredibly broad in what constitutes a conflict, such as financial services or alcoholic beverages, and therefore can quickly limit the choice of agencies without conflicts. Continue reading

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Who are the Winners and Losers in the Game of Advertising?

Advertising is a business game, played with great intensity by advertisers, agencies and holding companies in competition with one another.  Forget about partnership; that’s a myth from the past, when everyone focused on creating great work that drove growth in media spend and gains in brand market shares. How quaint the industry used to be!  That’s before CMOs became utterly confused by digital and social media and before the blood combat among procurement, agencies and holding companies drove out all the profit, talent and fun from the industry.  Continue reading

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Why measuring media value is more important than media cost

Mega successful investor, Warren Buffet, famous said “Price is what you pay; value is what you get”. But when it comes to media the discussion is almost always about price – price and quantity such as GRP, CMP, Impressions, spots and the like. These are all measures of quantity of media and quantity of audience delivery, but rarely is there a measure of quality. After all, quality of media is a much more difficult attribute to measure or validate. Continue reading

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