For the past 5 years I have made the pilgrimage across the Pacific to attend the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference. Although the focus is clearly US, it is by far the best marketing procurement event in the world. This year more than 635+ procurement, marketing, agency and consultant professional gathered at the Ritz Carlton Naples, Florida to discuss all things advertising financial management.
This year was an exceptional year with outstanding presentations and worthwhile discussions. However, while it was certainly three full days of presentations, there are still several major issues left to be addressed. Hopefully next year, but I want to highlight them here to add them clearly to the industry agenda.
Remember Chubbs from Happy Gilmore? “A damn alligator bit my hand off”, he said to Happy. In the deep grassy landscape of marketing and advertising you need to be careful of alligators and other predators ready to rip your limbs off.
In this post I want to draw your attention to the rapidly changing landscape of service providers facing marketers today. All ready to rip revenue out of marketer’s budgets. However are they generalists, specialists, specialists in being general or general at trying to claim specialism? The message is caveat emptor (buyer beware).
The old landscape
I won’t labour the point. We all know it was cleaner when marketers knew the difference between media, advertising, direct mail, PR and promotions agencies.
I’ve had a lot of conversations about pitch chemistry sessions lately. Mainly from agencies who haven’t made it through to the next round because let’s face it, why would you question what you were doing if it was working? The questions all follow a common theme: “Are we doing enough?” “What aren’t we doing right?” “What can we do differently?”
My answers, unfortunately, are also boringly similar. If I was wicked I could of course suggest that winning agencies were including interpretative dance or group meditation and while that would provide a great deal of entertainment for me as a pitch consultant, it would not be entirely truthful.
While doing things in a unique way or introducing a proprietary tool for the session may make you stand out, at the end of the day I have to remind everyone that a chemistry session is about exactly what it says on the tin…chemistry!