How to turn “red tape” into Best Practice Management

How would you define “red tape”?   One description is the “bureaucratic practice of hair splitting or foot dragging, blamed by its practitioners on the system that forces them to follow prescribed procedures to the letter”. The term has been incorrectly used more recently when the industry discusses the ever increasing role of procurement in the selection of marketing services providers. It is becoming a common label to challenge the activities of procurement and compliance services as a barrier to achieving client objectives.  However, what is the risk of cutting the “red tape”? There are real cost implications in taking short cuts to due process. The involvement of…

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The Rise of the Production Agency

Decoupling production is not a new concept in marketing circles. Historically, the view was that clients could control cost, service levels and output by forming independent relationships with production partners, outside the control of their “master” or lead creative agency. This model allowed the lead agency to control strategy, creative platform and concept, while the production agency focused on the “churn and burn” pieces. It was the original “conscious uncoupling.”

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What Every Marketer Needs To Know About Demand Side Platforms

DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) are automated booking software systems for the purchase of online ad space/inventory.  They are automated campaign tracking processes. There are many positives:  access to a significant amount of centralised online inventory, managing multiple messages and using a wealth of consumer data (with a question mark over data ownership) – all to find your consumer in the digital haystack. But this black box comes with its own mysteries.  

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What hinders fair remuneration?

“We sourced the best price for you”… “We’ll provide you with a reconciliation of resources used”… “We’re losing money on this”… Sound familiar? These are some of the more common phrases we’ve heard from agency folk recently, via their clients. Designed to make marketers feel comfortable with the agency investment, they don’t always represent the truth. This is why consultants like us are called in for benchmarking, compliance, and value review services.

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Are Your Agencies Partners or Suppliers?

When asked what differentiates Enth Degree recently, the response required no delay…”unashamedly client focussed”. Someone needs to be, because it seems this simple business ethic is lost on many of marketers’ communication “suppliers”. While in industry circles it is more acceptable to refer to agencies – be they creative, media or other – as a client’s partner, this is a relationship based on trust and earned over time.

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Don’t monkey around when it comes to managing agency performance.

Performance reviews… Why do marketers implement and adhere to a performance review program for their staff? Obviously because it allows staff and managers to re-group, and ensure they’re on the right track in terms of KPI’s, marketing goals, and ultimately the business plan. Given the meaningfulness of such reviews, why is it that some marketers don’t see the inherent need to apply a similar review program with their marketing suppliers?

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Why won’t agencies sign contracts?

After weeks of negotiations followed by a handshake or email agreement between partners, we are finding lately that some agencies do not want to put pen to paper to formalise the client relationship. In the last few years Enth Degree has assisted in the appointment of numerous agencies, across all disciplines, to partner with and service our clients’ marketing needs. One thing that has become more common over the last 12 months, is that a number of agencies are becoming increasingly wary of signing Service Level Agreements (SLAs), that contain not only commercial terms but process and intellectual property based clauses. So after the champagne corks have long…

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If it sounds too good to be true… Rates versus reality.

AdNews recently published an article with the headline “Discounting: Can the pants be pulled back up or are agencies all too exposed?” The article concerned a media agency who supposedly offered an “unheard of” discount of 92% on television rates in order to win a recent pitch. While of course the size of the discount cannot be believed, the rumour could be simply explained as one of two things:

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Promising the world… and delivering an atlas.

In a meeting with a Media Agency CEO recently, I was asked, “what are marketers really looking for from their Media Agencies?” Many Media Agencies believe the holy trinity to be “innovation”, “creativity” and “partnership”. Of course, these are critical contributors to the success of a marketer’s communications. But so are cut through creative, great packaging, a great sales force, optimum distribution and retailers that support them (plus a myriad of other considerations) – so let’s not fool ourselves into believing that all marketers have to think about is media. Good media practice is a given.

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How do you drive innovative Value Management Solutions?

Innovative strategic thinking is something you would expect your creative or media agency partner to provide; so the question is have you applied expert strategic thinking to managing your agency portfolio? The ability to apply advanced and experienced thinking to agency remuneration and management can deliver a fundamental change in marketing behaviour both on the client AND agency side to drive effective and efficient marketing campaigns and relationships. What is it? Application of experienced insights (national and international), benchmarks and interpretation by industry practitioners to develop forward thinking initiatives for agency remuneration and process management. With the growing focus on digital media and its many related challenges, we…

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