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Agencies Need to Make a Better Case

Show your case studies and capabilities – don’t phone it in

So, you finally got that elusive call with an agency search consultant. Or, better yet, someone at the client. But, you didn’t host the call on an online conferencing service?

That’s a missed opportunity given today’s technology.

And a 5-page deck is all you need to:

  1. Show you researched the brand or search consultant
  2. List your capabilities on one page and let the conversation steer the drill-down
  3. Show 2-3 of your best case studies – one page each with creative links

That’s it. Not complicated.

So why do so many ad agencies try to “talk” their capabilities and case studies at their audience over the phone?

As a result, you won’t keep your audience engaged nor leverage the impact of visuals to make a lasting impression.

Granted, technology can let us down at times. So you may want to send that deck just before the call.

But to get the most out of the short call, try to leverage online conferencing services and present a quick deck!

Bajkowski + Partners is a global consultancy with practices in Agency Search and Selection Management, Agency Performance and Relationship Management, Marketing Organization and Optimization, and Brand and Marcomm Management.

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Do Consultancies Have an Unfair Competitive Advantage Over Agencies?

In a July 3, 2019, commentary on Media Post, staff writer Richard Whitman raised the question of whether consultancies – Accenture in particular – were more conflicted than holding companies.

While some agencies have on occasion refused to participate in agency searches that included agencies held by the client’s auditors, WPP has reportedly declined to participate in Accenture-managed agency searches.

Accenture, as well as a few other consultancies, still provide brands with consulting services which range from in-depth audits of client’s agency contracts, pricing, scopes and processes to managing agency searches (which also gives them detailed access to confidential proposals from participating agencies) and realigning agency rosters. And now of course they all hold a number of advertising agencies and related service providers.

As agency search consultants, we have argued over the years that there is indeed a far bigger conflict of interest than agencies within a holding company offering work to competing brands.

In the case of the latter, most agencies within holding companies don’t talk to each other – nor do agencies within a network of offices unless they share an account. This is not as true, however, of media agencies despite the claims of “fire walls,” but that’s a topic for another time.

However, the conflict for consultancies, in our opinion, could rise to unfair competitive advantages over the holding companies and their agencies – whether leading a client audit or managing an agency search, they do indeed receive detailed information that agencies have provided to clients in the form of proposals, contracts, scopes, staffing plans, pricing, and reconciliations.

Despite receiving assurances that there are strict safeguards between the consulting practice and the agency practice, we’ve had a few former new business leaders from consultancies who are now at holding company digital agencies tell us that the consulting team from their former employer did indeed share such confidential information with its agency new business developers.

While this is all hearsay, it’s definitely something the 4A’s and their member agencies should investigate and develop explicit clauses in their client contracts to prevent any unfair competitive advantages by consultancies.

For the ANA, with all its efforts around media and production issues, they should also be developing standards of client ethics around agency audits and procurement to ensure unfair competitive advantages for consultancies are avoided.

And, maybe, the DOJ needs get involved in this issue as well.

Bajkowski + Partners LLC is a leading consultancy providing services to marketing and procurement teams in the areas of agency relationship management, agency search, process audits, contract and SOW development and audits, and other marketing operations related areas. For more information, please visit our website.

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women make purchase decisions

Old Voiceover Stereotypes In Marketing Still Prevail. Why?

Research shows that female voiceovers are more generally effective when targeting women

Each year marketers spend millions on carefully crafted creative for each media channel in hopes of emotionally connecting with consumers, yet stereotypes still prevail when it comes to talent. Many articles have been written about hiring more female directors through the Free the Bid campaign, but little attention has been given to talent selection – particularly voiceovers.

In our previous client-side jobs and even today as we advise clients, there is still a prevalent belief that male voiceover talent is more effective than female VO’s. And that’s simply not true.

Research then, and still today, shows that male and female voiceover talent are equally effective. However, there can be engagement differences depending upon the product and the core audience as revealed in an article published last November in Media Village.

Author Pierre Bouvard writes, “Marketers spend millions on establishing their brands and want to know what’s driving campaign return-on-investment (ROI).  That’s where third-party companies like Nielsen come in – to connect the dots with data. In an ROI study of 500 advertising campaigns, Nielsen looked at which elements contribute to sales on all major media platforms.  By a huge margin, creative was the strongest sales driver.  It was responsible for nearly 50% of all sales lift…Women in fact prefer female voiceovers in AM/FM radio ads.”

Mr. Bouvard’s article has great data points and graphs from Nielsen that reveal just how more effective female voiceovers can be when targeting women – so give it a read.

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down the drain

U.S. Media Buying Probe May Ensnare Marketers

Ever since former Mediacom CEO, Jon Mandel, publicly alleged four years ago at a forum held by the Association of National Advertisers that media buying agencies were engaged in non-transparent behaviors in order to retain discounts and rebates that belonged to advertisers, investigations into such practices have not receded.

The U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which has been underway for nearly a year, just recently led to the subpoena of records from one major advertiser.

Until now, attention within the industry has focused on behaviors among media buying agencies, real or imagined, but today’s article in AdAge adds a cautionary warning to marketers:  some of you may want to lawyer up.

Why?

If investigators can prove any brand-side marketers approved of, encouraged or willfully ignored misconduct by their media agencies, they could be facing criminal charges. And someone on the agency side may strike a plea deal in exchange for implicating a client.

According to the ANA’s website, the purpose of its recently released whitepaper, Media Buying 2018 – Transparency at a Crossroads , co-developed with legal firm ReedSmith, is to “provide a historical perspective of the transparency issues and to outline the options that advertisers have to cooperate or not cooperate with the FBI.”

If you’re involved with media buying, either client or agency side, you may want to seek advice from your own counsel – both corporate and personal.

Bajkowski + Partners LLC is a leading consultancy providing services to marketing and procurement teams in the areas of agency relationship management, agency search, process audits, contract and SOW development and audits, and other marketing operations related areas. For more information, please visit our website.

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