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By Calum Jaspan

In this outtake from The Weekend Mumbo newsletter, Mumbrella’s Calum Jaspan explores why ‘conflicts’ are still a sensitive topic, how one agency is finding a way around them, and if there is a path forward.

“One is fine. Two is a conflict. Three or more is a specialisation.” That line someone quipped to me this week resonated heavily.

“If I had just one of everything, I’d go broke.”

That one was said by advertising legend (and I think we can call him that in context) Harold Mitchell at Mumbrella360, 11 years ago. 

Much to the malign of successful ad agency bosses, they are largely still limited to one client per sector, lest they become specialists and then close off other opportunities.

Many in adland complain that their industry is subject to an outdated system that few other industries are.

Examples often put forward are consulting, lawyers or investment bankers.

A quick google search will show you, for example, that EY’s clients in 2022 included AT&T, and Verizon; 21st Century Fox and Time Warner; Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.

An agency CEO told me this week: “Consultants, auditors, and media owners all have access to competitive information and a load of details, but for some reason creative, media and earned agencies aren’t able to work across competitors. It’s a legacy that should evolve.

“If you don’t trust your agency but you do the media owners, consultants and auditors then there is a severe problem and you should review your agency partners.”

So why is there still so much conflict around conflict? 

There are cases, such as a sector duopoly, where it makes sense to manage conflicts closely.

Take WPP and its forced exit from the Coles pitch last year as an example. Woolworths engaged WPP’s Hogarth, so naturally, they were out of the running.

“Not every client is Coles and Woolies though,” one senior marketer told me this week. “You have to be pragmatic,” they said, and not take a blanket view on things.

Would they engage an agency already working with a competitor? While they admitted it might make them uncomfortable, if the agency displayed effective ethical walls, they would be ok with it.

“You can’t contract your way into good work. Clients get the work they deserve.”

No sooner than I had heard that, I asked another marketer this week if they would be ok with their agency working with another brand in the same category.

“Fuck no!”

I suggested that ethical walls are common practice in many industries and some marketers believe they could work in this industry.

“That’s rubbish,” they responded. “Everyone talks, and you as a journalist should know that!

“How are they making sure there is no leakage?

“If there are businesses that are fine with that, ok. But the minute it fucks up, who are they going to blame?”

Speaking of leaks, while rare, they do happen. Just take the PwC Peter Collins leak that has led news this week.

There are examples, however, of brands being comfortable with their agencies working with competitors.

The Monkeys Melbourne found itself inside the Carlton United Breweries cellar door in 2020 after its client Asahi purchased the Australian beer conglomerate.

CUB then recently narrowed its roster down to two main agencies, Clemenger BBDO and The Monkeys (with a few sub brands being serviced by other agencies).

The Monkeys and Canadian Club have a successful partnership in the books

Its sister agency, The Monkeys Sydney, has helped build Beam Suntory-owned Canadian Club significant market share in recent years off the platform ‘Over beer?’.

Many clients would take issue with this. One agency (albeit separate offices, with separate teams), working on two clients in a fiercely competitive sector.

The Monkeys has flouted the unwritten rule, and that isn’t the only example.

It has been Entain Group’s (Ladbrokes and Neds) rostered creative agency for several years now, so it was a surprise when the Mark Green-headed Accenture Song was appointed as Tabcorp’s new creative and brand agency last month, splitting duties with Ogilvy as its customer agency.

I’m just going to dot the ‘i’ here and say The Monkeys is part of Accenture Song.

Entain’s chief marketing officer James Burnette told me a few weeks ago he has absolutely no issue with the new partnership, and that the brand and agency continue to be happily engaged with each other.

Moving forward? 

An industry pundit who has written about this topic in the past suggested clients need to “stop being so sensitive” about conflicts.

With bottom lines to protect, it is hard to pass up business when it stares you in the face. How do agencies generally get around this? They create more agencies. Enter the ‘conflict agency’. Which of course no one really wants to admit it is – it’s a genuine agency that has seen a market opportunity. A very specific market opportunity.

That in itself is an issue. There are so many agencies. No wonder there is a talent crisis.

Holding groups previously sneezed out new agencies anytime they needed to retain a client or add one without having to deal with conflict.

“You have agencies spawned purely for the sake of this. But guess what, they (the client) always end up moving,” one industry source said.

Some have started packaging them back up, but then this naturally leads again to the problem you were trying to solve. 

And it even works the other way. Some of Australia’s biggest brands including Optus, Telstra, IAG, Suncorp and the aforementioned CUB work with a roster of agencies, in what could be perceived as an attempt to stash them away from their competitors.

IAG splits creative duties across several agency brands

With some sectors such as financial services now so varied, it seems silly that a brilliant agency is denied the opportunity to work with a new client due to conflict.

“There’s more of them than there are of us, so we need to figure this out,” another agency boss said of a conversation they had with a colleague.

So what is the solution?

One suggestion has been for an agency to license out a campaign to a client. This would promote longevity in brand platforms, reward better work and put up barriers within the scope of work it’s creating for a brand.

Charge for longevity, value and frequency, not hours and people.

And that’s exactly what you can expect to see from Huge, according to Mat Baxter, who has launched the agency locally. 

“We want to show clients what you can get from buying a product, instead of people and hours,” he told Mumbrella.

Another option would be, as one pundit mentioned, for agencies to stand up for themselves and stop entertaining conflict as being an issue, or only accepting exclusivity with a client if it promises the same to them.

So maybe Accenture Song and The Monkeys are on to something, and the pitch to clients is that agencies can handle conflicts. But maybe it helps being backed by a company that specialises in them too.

By Calum Jaspan

Sourced from Mumbrella

 

 

By Matt Lumb.

Imagine this: You step into an elevator and find yourself face-to-face with a potential client such as P&G. You have just a few floors to win their interest, just a few floors to make an impression and convince them you are worth a second look. Beyond your agency name, what would you tell them?

Some agencies want to showcase everything they do, hoping that something will stick. But my advice, after speaking to dozens of small agencies, is that you should focus on your “superpower”-that thing your agency does that it’s especially good at and that clearly differentiates it from other agencies. It’s your superpower that will be most memorable when being considered for a new project.

So how do you know if your agency has a superpower? Many small agencies tend to work incognito, like Clark Kent. So, to help you discover your superpower, I suggest looking in these five areas:

1. Your heritage story:

What premise was the agency founded on? What has been the heritage and history of the agency? What is the story behind the name of the agency? Any of these can give a prospective client insight into your philosophy and approach-and lead you to the answer of what sets you apart.

2. Your client base:

Do you attract a certain type of client or category? Some agencies have multiple clients in healthcare, food or beauty. These multiple projects demonstrate a proficiency that might be applicable to the new project. Or maybe your agency has developed a strength among a specific group of consumers, a geography or even a style of advertising. This by no means is designed to pigeonhole you into always working on that kind of project, but it can indicate where your superpower might be hiding. Many superpowers can translate into adjacent areas that clients may be looking for. Maybe you have a talent for dealing with taboo topics or new products, or maybe comedy is your preferred advertising tone.

3. Your best work:

What is some of your best work and who were the clients? When you showcase this work, what is it that makes it your best work? What are you most proud of? Is there a common thread?

4. Your people:

Look around your office at the people you have attracted. Is there something consistent in the interests, experience or skill sets of your team that can help you identify the agency’s superpower? Are you animal lovers, copywriters, fans of improv, foodies, musicians or escapees from big agencies? Do you tend to hire more makers, illustrators, writers or data analysts? Look around the office. What adorns the walls? Is there a clue to your superpower for potential clients to see?

5. Your products:

What are your clients willing to pay for? Is there a certain service or product that brings clients in the door? When you complete a project, what service gets the most praise? This may help you zero in on where your agency brings the most value.

These are a few tips for finding your superpower. Personally, I find it far more memorable and helpful to hear about an agency’s superpower as brands and clients are often looking for something specific versus an agency that can do everything. Those superpowers are often the best thing to showcase what you can do. So, what are yours? We only have a few floors, and we really want to know.

But please, leave the superhero costumes at home.

Feature Image Credit: Bruno Kelzer/Unsplash

By Matt Lumb.

Matt Lumb is vice president, Brand Building Integrated Communications department at The Procter & Gamble Company, an in-house strategy, production and communications consultancy, consisting of seasoned professionals. In his more than 25 years with P&G, Matt has worked on numerous global brands and his career has taken him from Australia to Asia and the U.S.A. View all articles by this author

Sourced from AdAge

By  Ryan Yaeger 

Marketing and advertising agencies have been a part of the marketplace for more than two centuries, helping product manufacturers and service providers connect with those in need of what they have to offer. Agencies like ours exist symbiotically with business – when our efforts do well in promoting a business, the business succeeds. “We succeed when you succeed” is more than a throwaway slogan – it’s the truth of agency work, and words we live and die by.

Retaining a client or sticking with an agency often comes down to deciding how beneficial the relationship is for both parties. But how can a client really measure the success of their marketing agency? What is the right way to tell whether or not the investment is worth it? While many would say that it simply boils down to the ROI – return on investment – the reality is that the answer isn’t always quite so clear cut.

First Things First – Marketing Is an Investment, Not an Expense

Before we dive in, it’s important to first dispel the notion that anything you spend on promoting your brand, your business and what you have to offer the market is a cost. Most organizations understand that marketing is an investment – something you put money into for the betterment of your organization and the growth of your business – and not an expense. It’s why they call it “return on investment” and not “return on expense,” after all.

Promoting your brand and your products or services is how new customers learn about you and what you offer, and how existing and previous customers keep you in mind for future needs. Being at the top of mind within consumers’ minds is a must. If they need something you offer and don’t think of you first – or at least know of you and what you can provide – you’ve at least put yourself at a disadvantage if you haven’t outright lost a potential sale.

Marketing helps you succeed, and marketing agencies offer experience in the best ways to find that success for your business. They deliver knowledge and expertise with different types of advertising and creative staff capable of concepting and delivering a unique and fresh idea for you and your organization. You wouldn’t ask just anyone to help you put an addition on your house or repair your car – you’d want an expert. When it comes to promoting brands and business, investing in a marketing and advertising agency that works on your behalf is an investment in your organization’s growth and development.

A Partnership for Measurable Success

Now, to really gauge how successful any given marketing or advertising efforts are, it often comes down to the numbers – but which numbers? The definition of success can vary, depending on the specific goals of the client. Do you want to increase product sales? Drive more queries to the website? Get more foot traffic at your storefront or make the phone ring more often?

Credit: iStock

The goal of the campaign has to be well understood before you start, and agencies and clients need to trust one another and provide transparency in the process. A client needs to be able and willing to share information like customer inquiry and sales data with the agency – this allows the agency team to track what campaigns or strategies are working and to what extent. On the other side, agencies need to be transparent about the costs for different services and deliver the trackable data available from campaigns run on digital or third-party networks.

To succeed, clients and agencies need to work as partners, sharing data, collaborating on ideas and cooperating on measuring results. For campaigns to be fairly evaluated, clients need to know what was done and agencies need to know how it impacted business. Together, each approach can be assessed, improved and refined, making each new campaign better than the last and helping to grow business.

Where Things Fall Apart

If you ask five companies or five agencies why their last relationship with the other failed, you’ll probably get five different stories. Maybe the agency cost too much or they weren’t transparent enough, or perhaps the client failed to pay bills on time or never provided any concrete input on a project. At the end of the day, though, many client and agency relationships fail for the same reason as personal relationships – a lack of communication and understanding.

Working with an agency offers many benefits for a client. Agencies have staff that are experienced and knowledgeable in the marketing world and in a range of advertising strategies, creative development approaches, content and copywriting, digital and traditional media and much more. Having an agency puts all this at the fingertips of a client, allowing them to adapt and grow in any channel without having to hire an in-house staff to cover all the different avenues.

But the partnership works both ways. Clients need to know that their agency can react to their requests and are able to deliver results on time and on budget. At the same time, clients need to respect that agencies have costs of doing business, and when a client requests a project, there will be a price attached to that work. That can include a range of different fees, as well, depending on the type of campaign – research and concepting, printing costs, media purchasing and placement, creative or technical development, project management and more.

But What About ROI?

That all said, measuring the success of your campaign won’t always boil down to a clear-cut gain in profits. The typical calculation for an ROI holds that an organization’s gross profit during a given campaign minus the marketing investment divided by the total of that investment and then all multiplied by 100 should result in a campaign’s ROI percentage. Or, in more clear terms:

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. While that math works great for a campaign that’s directly tied to increased sales of products or services, it doesn’t work when the campaign has a less tangible goal. Is your goal to increase awareness in the marketplace or expand your reach into a new territory? You can’t necessarily measure that in increased revenue. Instead, that may be better gauged by surveying people in the area, tracking visits to your website from that area or using a new phone number that’s local to the region and counting call volumes.The standard calculation of ROI also doesn’t factor in things like residual customer values. For example, if a campaign brings 10 new customers to you, and two of them go on to make regular annual or quarterly purchases, that grows not only a company’s immediate sales, but develops long-term returning customer value. Similarly, growth in search engine rankings or increased website traffic doesn’t necessarily show an immediate gain, but instead sets a foundation for long-term growth and value by improving visibility and market awareness.

Credit: iStock

A Different ‘R’ for ROI

At the end of the day, perhaps it’s not so much a “return” on investment that should be the target term in “ROI,” but instead “results.” What success is can take many different forms depending on a campaign’s goals, so for a client to gauge the merits of an agency partnership on financial gains alone isn’t always the appropriate measure. Instead, look at what the agency delivers for investment and decide if that meets or exceeds the goals of a given marketing effort.

Growing an email list or placing a billboard doesn’t necessarily tie immediately to a financial growth. However, both offer long-term benefits. Having more customers on an email list increases the reach of digital marketing campaigns, allowing for more current or prospective customers to be reached with future incentives and promotional materials. Increasing awareness of your brand in the community doesn’t mean they will need your product or service immediately, but it does make them aware of who you are and what you offer when they do need you. Marketing isn’t just financial gains alone – sometimes it’s playing the long game and investing on efforts today that make campaigns in the future more successful.

If both the client and agency agree on what a campaign is setting out to do and what success looks like for any given effort, it’s easy to determine if a campaign is delivering ROI – results on investment. Success isn’t always measured by the same yardstick. By deciding what success looks like, clients and agencies can thrive together.

This article was originally posted on the J. Fitzgerald Group blog

By  Ryan Yaeger 

Sourced from Business 2 Community

By Peter Bendor-Samuel,

There’s a new threat on the horizon for advertising agencies. Leading successful service providers including Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, IBM, McKinsey and PwC are acquiring advertising companies. Why should you take note of this movement if you’re not in the advertising business? Because it serves as a warning for other industries: digital platforms are starting to restructure businesses. Advertising is just one example.

Marketing in the digital age has become a very different story. With the rise of Google and Facebook, it has become a digital story. Money has poured out of print distribution and even TV into digital. But the bigger development is the transformation of marketing organizations and the service providers that serve them.

In the rotation into digital, marketing departments are having to master digital skills. Digital platforms tend to be far more comprehensive than traditional marketing vehicles. This has driven a sea of change in terms of the ecosystem that supports marketing. Historically, the large advertising houses ruled the roost, and they developed websites and digital platforms.

However, they have new fearsome competitors such as IBM, Accenture, McKinsey, KPMG, PwC – large service providers. These companies come to the digital equation with the ability to drive comprehensive digital platforms with scope and impact far greater than traditional marketing awareness issues. They move from awareness to sales to order fulfillment to customer satisfaction. Their end-to-end, comprehensive platforms are creating new digital business models.

Because these new competitors are better positioned to drive an end-to-end digital agenda, they’re moving rapidly into the creative aspect that has long been the providence of the advertising agencies. Rather than trying to build a creative voice, these companies are rapidly acquiring advertising agencies to allow them to participate and deliver the end-to-end digital platforms.

The leading service providers are an emerging threat to the large advertising houses because they are better positioned to buy advertising houses than the advertising firms are positioned to buy systems implementation/integrators.

It is important to note that the usual barriers of entry into a market – such as economies of scale, significant upfront capital investments and proprietary technology – are not barriers in this instance. These service providers have already built economies of scale and are already investing heavily and quickly into digital technology.

Image: Shutterstock

By Peter Bendor-Samuel

Sourced from Forbes