Global Marketing Management Update

17 March 2021

Welcome to the March edition of TrinityP3’s e-news

Chair of TrinityP3 USA, Michael Farmer, first published his award-winning book, Madison Avenue Manslaughter in 2015.

Today, the book is in the third edition, updated with insights into the media agency landscape and the continuing challenges that the advertising industry faces with fee-cutting clients, profit-hungry owners and shareholders and declining ad agencies. But in 2020, he identified a change, driven by a decade of underperforming companies which had responded to low or negative growth by cost-cutting their way to profit.

The focus on marketing as a growth driver of brands and businesses has created an opportunity for ad agencies (creative and media) to transform themselves as the vehicles to help their marketing clients respond to this challenge. Since last year Michael has been writing and sharing his opinions and recommendations on how agencies need to transform. Central to this transformation is the often-maligned account management team – in particular the account heads who he has identified as essential to the process. We hope you enjoy his insights below.

The resurgence of marketing and the end of the Madison Avenue Manslaughter

Marketers and agencies have had a tough time since the financial crisis of 2008. Despite a dramatic increase in media possibilities, major advertisers did not discover the right formula to drive growth. Twenty of the top fifty advertisers in the U.S., representing $1.1 trillion in sales in 2009 grew between -2.9% and +1.9% per year and saw their overall sales (as a group) shrink by 4% during the most recent decade.

COVID made things worse in 2020. This is about to change, as marketers confront the failures of the past decade and set a new course for their post-COVID futures.


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Agency transformations 2021: Top down or bottom up?

Global creative agencies are among the most decentralised business organisations in the world. Office heads and the Client Heads within their offices have complete independence in the way they manage their operations. Client Heads are virtually unsupervised — no one above them knows what work they are leading and whether or not fees and resources are appropriate for the work. C-suite executives focus more on the hunt for new business than on the management of their fragmented organisations. This makes agency transformations particularly tricky.


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Client Heads are the front-line troops in the agency transformation

Client Heads endure the daily combat of client-agency relationships. They get no glory for their efforts or sacrifices. They suffer the consequences of scope of work increases, fee reductions, inadequate resources and relationship threats. They hold the line and try to keep things from getting worse. They’re on their own. This is not right — agency transformations depend on Client Head successes in battle. Client Heads are receiving inadequate support from their leaders.


What’s hot

Here are the most read, most shared and most commented on articles from the TrinityP3 blog in the past month: