Faster, Better, Cheaper – the Manufactured Marketing curse

This is the next in a series of one-minute videos that address one of the many complex challenges facing marketing, media and advertising today. The Golden Minute series is an attempt to prove Albert Einstein right when he said “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple”.

But he also said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. So we will leave it for you to judge. Please let us know here if there is a topic you would like us to cover in a Golden Minute.

As marketing communications require a great volume of output the process is becoming more like manufacturing in nature. But the question is who is taking responsibility for quality control in marketing manufacturing?

Social channels and digital media has created a huge demand for advertising content leading to significant increases in demand on the agency to deliver these requirements. At the same time advertising budgets and certainly agency fees have remained static or even reduced in real terms.

At the same time marketing is embracing more agile processes that allow faster and more nimble process to market and the ability to test and learn.

So assuming that quality is a given and needs to be maintained (or perhaps even improved), the challenge here is how can the industry increase the volume and speed without a corresponding increase in cost.

The problem is the current agency production process is designed to produce high quality, one off, bespoke advertising solutions. It is time consuming and labour intensive. No wonder agencies prefer to be paid by the hour. The only way to increase the output or the speed of this process is with extra cost.

This is why the agency world talks about “Quality, cost and time – you can have any two“. Because this is true for the agency production model. But it is not the model for a manufacturing process.

Manufacturing is about placing a focus on improving productivity and speed to market, improving quality and reducing cost. In the face of the demand for a dramatic increase in output and a demand for improved speed to market, advertising needs to rethink the manufacturing / production process.

This is not about the agency developing strategy or the conceptualisation or ideation, it is about the implementation and production of the outputs of this strategy, concept and idea. We are seeing this change in the rise of the production specialists and the decoupling of production from the agencies.

The issue with all this is, in this transition to a more efficient and effective production process we need to ensure that while the focus is on lower cost, increased output and short time to market, someone needs to keep an eye on the quality of these outputs. There is already industry criticism on the huge volume of low quality advertising, especially in the digital and social channels.

So who is going to take responsibility for quality?

The agency?

The marketer?

Or you?

Golden Minute Script

While the motto of the modern Olympics is Citius, Altius, Fortius

Faster, Higher, Stronger

The motto for modern marketing could easily be Citius, Melior, Vilis

Faster, Better, Cheaper

Ironically it’s also the motto of modern manufacturing.

To paraphrase Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management, because “There is no point making it cheaper if it is not better”.

In advertising they have a similar saying “there is quality, cost or time – you can have any two”.

So in a marketing world where cost and time are constantly under pressure where does that leave quality?

And I do not mean winning award type of quality, I mean changing customer behaviour, growing market share, driving sales and profit type of quality.

The quality that ultimately is why we market.

If marketing is a manufacturing process, then who is responsible for ensuring the quality is improved, when everyone else is focusing on how to make it faster and cheaper?

Is it you? Or you? Or you?

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