Marketing Consultancy

Grumble-Fest; Search Consultants Sound Off

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

There’s apparently little agreement on the role or place of the hired and compensated pricey search consultant in a client’s agency review. And last week (May 1st) as reported in AdAge, “agency search consultants admitted that the process of agency reviews has gotten “totally out of control” during a session at the Mirren New Business Conference in New York. Speaking on a panel called “Why You Are — And Are Not — On Our Radar,” Russel Wohlwerth stressed that the agency search process hasn’t worked efficiently in many years, and is only getting more and more unwieldy. While many in the industry say the (hired and paid) search consultants still manage about 30% overall pitches, Mr. Wohlwerth contended that number is smaller.” I contend that no-cost services like AgencyFinder; sponsored by their member-agencies, have ever-so-slowly drawn business away.

“Another focus for consultants is reconciling the transparency issue. Marketers’ reluctance to disclose the firms involved in a pitch could be harmful to a small agency’s business when that agency is trying to decide whether it’s worth investing in a pitch against a large shop, explained one agency executive during the Q&A session. Panelists agreed that clients should publicize that information.” I noticed there was no mention whether that was something the consultants should do themselves …

“Finally, the consultants advised that in order to get on consultants’ radar, they should provide quarterly updates about their agency, should be active in the blogosphere and on social media, and consider positioning themselves as leaders in specific categories.” I don’t know why they beat this topic to death! The consultants in question and attendance at this seminar were the big boys and girls; those whose fees often exceed the budget of many much smaller clients. Why mislead smaller agencies – you don’t get on their radar by sending stuff; you get on their radar when your capitalized billings are in the stratosphere of multi-millions.

A client with a $40MM budget and able to afford these pricey match-makers, isn’t looking to hire an agency capitalized at much less than $80MM!

Marketer-Led Reviews Have Shops Crying Foul

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

For Agencies Feeling Put-Upon by Procurement, Suddenly Search Consultants Don’t Seem So Bad

The following post appeared in the August 8th AdAge newsletter and begged for comment since search consultants seem to get hammered on a regular basis …

On June 29, the head of new business at DDB North America, Brandon Snow, fired off this tweet: “Gotta love this biz. RFI shows up today, for a response by July 6th. I truly believe clients think agencies don’t need holiday time off.”

Ill-advised as it may be to bemoan a chance to pitch a new account, Mr. Snow’s hardly the only exec frustrated by the agency review process these days. A few of the complaints on the list: hyper-condensed timelines; unfair requests by marketers to own speculative creative or strategic work; a lack of transparency about the size of the ultimate prize; and inadequate or no compensation to offset the costs of pitching. One new-business leader at a U.S. agency told Ad Age that of the seven pitches her shop is currently involved in, it’s only being compensated for one.

The spike in complaints about review processes coincides with a rise in client-led reviews and a decrease in the use of agency search consultants.

This article (find and read it in it’s entirety) by Rupal Parekh attracted more than 79 posts at last count …

The first posted response read:  Agencies are commodities so there is nothing wrong with them being selected the same way other commodities are. This is obvious when you look at how they can’t even differentiate themselves on their websites. If managements’ ultra-fragile egos are hurt by this treatment, they should find another industry to work in.

I replied: Part of this problem lies in this article headline – every review should be Marketer-Led. Not to say that selector consultants or industry match-makers shouldn’t play a pivotal role in the ways others above (writing above) have already suggested, but the marketer should always take the lead role in their own review. Years ago, a well-known agency search consultant told us he needed to be so “controlling” because CMO’s were too busy to give the process their full attention! Can you imagine that – a CMO too busy to actively select their employer’s partner in destiny!

It’s good that the 4A’s and ANA publish and advocate process recommendations, but the majority of search volume falls outside their memberships. We find ourselves in the “high-ether” from time to time, but generally concern ourselves with small-to-medium clients and the thousands of agencies also entitled to professionally managed reviews. To see that happens, we devote front-end marketer dialogue to explain their responsibilities in the process and spell that out in our Advertiser Terms & Conditions.

Later, LA “VP fdf fdfd” wrote:  Sandwiched between the $100mm campaign budgets requiring a full-service AOR and the $100 logo budget requiring a crowdsourcing platform, there is a vast marketplace of clients (luxury fashion, tech start-ups, entertainment, etc.) that require specialized, project-based solutions as opposed to all-in-one agency/partner relationships.

Seems there is a huge client need for consultancy within this space and find it interesting that more pitch consultants aren’t already actively involved.

I closed out with this:  fdf fdfd – The companies you describe are less familiar with pitch consultants and would find a disconnect between their smaller marketing budgets and the magnitude of those consultant’s fees. We recognized that back in 1997 when we introduced our agency-funded match-making service.

This selector consultant issue and debate is destined to continue unabated for years to come. To each his own and to his own … Your thoughts? Have some great and not-so-great experiences to report?  We’ll post them if you write ..

Don’t Bug Me! I’m busy with all the details of launching this new website!

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

I’m sorry, I didn’t really mean to snap at you … but gosh almighty, do you have any idea what it’s like to try to launch a new website while dealing with great agencies and hungry clients? Most of this site has been made ready to educate and entertain you; we also have to accomodate clients looking for new agencies, and that’s priority Number One!.  So, bear/bare with us – this blog is destined to get attention after we take care of everything else …

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