Marketing Partenerships

Clients Pulling The Plug

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

Guest Author, Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute

Each spring, I walk my live network members through the trends that I have been tracking and believe are going to impact the coming year. One of the trends I am going to be talking about this go around is a pretty ugly one. Clients seem to have much shorter fuses when it comes to agencies these days.

Clients are literally picking up the phone (or worse, sending a break-up email) and pulling the plug on the unsuspecting agency with no forewarning, discussions about dissatisfaction, or severance time frame. It’s a “hi, effective immediately or if they really generous — to the end of the month), we’re moving on. Thanks for your service.”

I am seeing it happen to big agencies from big brands (both B2C and B2B) and I am seeing it happen to smaller agencies with local or regional brands. I don’t get a sense that there’s any geographical aspect to this either.

There have always been horrific break-up stories but in the past, when an agency and client went their separate ways, there were some conversations, some expression of discontent and some time period to re-earn the trust of the client.

That seems to be less common these days. So what do we do about this unpleasant trend?

  • Are you (the owner) investing in building a relationship with your client’s CEO/owner/leader?
  • When was the last time you invested in a client satisfaction survey and reacted to the results?
  • Are your AEs helping your clients achieve business goals and tackle business problems every single day? (Do they understand strategy enough to do that?)
  • Are you holding regular (quarterly for large clients, annually for smaller ones) celebrations/planning events with your entire client and agency team?

We can’t just sit back and let this trend kick us in the teeth. We need to be proactive now so we can dodge the impact of this new wave of bad manners and bad break up etiquette.

What else are you doing to make sure you aren’t on the receiving end of this trend?

What’s Wrong with Billing by the Hour?

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

Guest Post By 

If you’re like most agencies, you are still primarily using the billable hour payment. This model relegates you to a manual laborer rather than a solution-driven partner. It also puts you and your clients at odds, rather than forging a better alliance. The good news is there’s another way.

Why do agencies use the billable hour?

The main reason agencies still rely on the billable hour model is because this is how it has always been done. Change rarely comes naturally, whether we’re talking about individuals or large corporations. People find it easier to keep doing things the same way instead of learning a new system. And truth be told, billing by the hour is definitely an easier process because most agencies are set up to track employees’ time.

But this method no longer works. It’s outdated. Back in the days of heavy media buying, when the lion’s share of billing was based on commissions, this method was great. But today’s market is drastically different, and it has different needs.

What’s wrong with billing by the hour?

This model is to the disadvantage of both the agency and the client for a number of reasons:

  • It puts you at odds with your clients. They want to spend less, and you want to earn more. You don’t get the opportunity to work together to discuss the value of your work, so one or both parties are usually dissatisfied with the payment.
  • Similarly, it creates risk for clients since they don’t know how many hours of work you will need to do to complete the job. They’re forced to accept whatever bill you give them, which can make them suspicious and wary of you.
  • It implies that agencies make “stuff,” rather than create ideas or business solutions.
  • It penalizes agencies for technology and other advances that make agencies more efficient.
  • It prevents you from setting the price in advance, which keeps everyone in the dark until the final bill arrives.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it makes you like every other agency in town. If you update to a better model, it communicates that you are pushing ahead of the competition and are not trapped in old methods. This kind of change can make you a leader in your field.

Solution: The value-pricing model

In the value-pricing model, the client and the agency discuss the business outcomes that will be delivered as a result of the work. They set measurable, smart goals and determine the value of achieving those outcomes.

Here’s an example: Let’s say a client in the banking industry would like to get 200 new checking accounts from advertising efforts. The bank’s marketing manager determines that the lifetime value of a checking account customer is $500, so achieving the goal is worth $100,000 in new revenue. She also determines that the bank has a 50 percent close rate on selling a new checking account. So the campaign needs to drive 400 prospects into the bank in order to open 200 new accounts.

The agency can’t be held responsible for the actual sales because there are too many variables outside of its control. But it can present a program that will drive 400 prospects through the door. The agency can now present different options for driving inquiries about checking accounts. The agency knows that the proposals need to be priced in a way that creates a profit for the client. It’s then the agency’s job to deliver the specifics of the proposal within budget.

The client couldn’t care less how many hours the job takes. What the client cares about is results. As long as the agency creates more value than the price it charges, everyone wins.

This process is a much more balanced way to charge the client and to compensate the agency. The client pays for value, not stuff, and the agency is paid based on the success of its efforts, not how much time it took to accomplish the goal.

Value pricing makes it easier for your agency to build strong relationships with your clients because you’re both pulling for the same outcome. In this new model, the clients are in control of the price-to-value ratio, and they are happy that you are making a profit because they are paying for results. You can argue over hours billed, but it’s hard to argue with results.

If you’re still using the billable hour, it’s time to revamp your pricing model. You can stand out in the crowd, create agency-client relationships built on trust and common goals, and benefit from high efficiency. I don’t know of a single agency that doesn’t want those improvements.

AgencyFinder suggests – you won’t be the first, but how about it?

 

One More Time; Let’s Simplify Branding & Marketing

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

Our company matches advertisers with qualified marketing firms, so we constantly field requests for branding firms, branding services, or just for branding. Conversely, it seems every agency today declares themselves to be a branding or digital agency. So just like media alternatives have grown to a complex set of options, so have the meanings of branding and marketing. Here are some versions that may help simplify things.

Image result for kentucky peerless distilling co

Start with Branding. The one I like says it’s the essence of a product or service. “The intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character.” Or “a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.” Accordingly, the toolkit of adaptations agencies claim they can bring to bear on branding generally seem reasonable, but they generally serve as participles to the noun branding. Does it seem reasonable then that the essence of anything could serve to promote itself? Any more than a race horse could win a race without running?

That’s where marketing comes in. Marketing runs the race. Some say “Marketing is the process of bringing goods or services to market.” How’s that for simple! Marketing then as an all-encompassing concept is far-reaching. It could include research, advertising, public relations, direct marketing, social media, experiential and more. Curious then how digital fits in that set. Yet most agencies today are want to declare themselves as a digital agency. To add to the confusion, it seems everyone pontificates about branding and marketing. Since those conversations will undoubtedly continue, in the meantime I hope this helps.

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Tips to Help Your Agency Manage Client Expectations

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

by Jordyn Walters

The best client-agency relationships are built on trust and mutual understanding. When you take steps to manage client expectations from the get-go, you will maintain that strong relationship through the ups and downs that are bound to happen when marketing firms and clients team up. We are all human, after all.

Think back to the last client you brought onboard. More than likely you spent ample time preparing to win them over. This includes meetings, presentations, potential brand renderings, timelines, strategies, and budgets. You were living and breathing that client. And sure, when the good times are rolling, it’s a snap to keep the client relationship healthy and satisfied. But what about when that roll hits a speed bump? It takes experience and attentiveness to keep the trust going so you can maintain the client’s relationship and their expectations. Utilize the following tips to improve communication and manage the client:

1.       Stick to the agreed upon strategy.
The agency and client should always be on the same page. You are grabbing a one-way ticket to an uncomfortable conversation with your client when they are expecting one thing and you are expecting another. Everything that you do for them should be defined ahead of time so there is no confusion when the numbers start rolling in. For example, if the client has a different expectation of a certain goal than the agency does, it is only a matter of time before there’s a collision and the relationship gets a kink. Choose a strategy with the client and create a document that outlines everything. If you do this, you are less likely to receive pushback down the road.

2.       Don’t just have a client-agency relationship. Have a true relationship.
Not only is it more pleasant to meet and work with a client, but it makes the relationship that much stronger and understanding when you know the client on a personal level. Take the time to have interest in their lives, whether it’s their family life, their favorite places to eat in the area, or what makes them get up in the morning. Having a relationship built on more than business builds a foundation that allows for more accurate strategies and exceeded goals.

3.       Stay in control.
Remember, the client came to you for help. You should be steering the ship from day one. You’re the expert. Whenever a client feels like they need to keep tabs on their agency you are in danger of losing that trust and more importantly the respect for your expertise. Stay true to the strategy outline, be transparent, and absolutely communicate. Some clients may be more difficult to guide than others, but it is important to remember that you are the leader and the expert. Show your confidence and it will transfer to the client.

4.       Provide monthly reports of progress and success.

Oftentimes the client benefits more from seeing the big picture when they get tangible updates. As long as you are doing your job and the reports show movement every month, the client will appreciate having something tangible. Providing monthly summaries reminds the client of your value and the fruits of that labor. Even with constant communication, the lack of monthly reporting can mean the big picture gets lost in the shuffle. Before you know it, you’ll have angry client’s asking where that movement is. Still stay in contact regularly, but remember there is a great benefit to sending monthly analytics.

Do you have any tips for managing client expectations? Leave them in the comments below!

Talk About a Challenging Assignment – Border Patrol Seeks Agency to Lead Recruitment Campaign!

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

We ran across this “opportunity” the other day. When you consider all the flak border patrol agents have been getting; when you consider they are constrained in how they actually patrol or apprehend, not sure anyone will want to touch this “opportunity” with a stick! But here it is …

US Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Opportunity: Needs a agency to provide strategic marketing and advertising services, with the goal of pitching CBP as a top career choice, according to the RFP.

Work includes: but is not limited to: (1) develop and execute a branding strategy that distinguishes CBP as an employer of choice; (2) develop and execute innovative and cost-efficient targeted marketing and advertising campaigns to attract female, minority, disabled and veteran candidates; (3) develop and implement innovative and efficient targeted marketing to attract highly-qualified candidates from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields; (4) conduct market research to determine the most effective means to attract qualified candidates who come from the intelligence community, are proficient in foreign languages and who have the necessary certification to administer polygraph examinations.

Like so many RFP’s, lots of work described but no mention of budget – range or approval.

 

The CMO’s Guide to Agency Procurement

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

From getting briefs approved by VPs to avoiding shootouts, CMOs can institute plenty of practices to get better work — and save money. The article in question appeared today (May 13, 2015) in Advertising Age. Well written covering good ground. One comment by Ms. Rieter caught my attention and I wrote this …

Interesting and well written article citing the obvious by both Ms. Reiter and Mr. Strachan to begin. As for agency procurement or agency search, we’ve always argued “you can’t find a ‘right’ among a group of ‘wrongs.’ A successful agency review deserves some of the closest scrutiny of the process at the onset – where a reasonable fat handful of qualified candidates are identified. In an AgencyFinder review, we share that list with the client’s CMO for examination and editing. The edited group is invited to participate in a fairly linear process, but not at the exclusion of initial telephone dialogue.

I’m interested in the AmEx process Ms. Reiter describes – “For many of those marketers, choosing the right agency for the right project isn’t always obvious. So AmEx procurement has an online tool that helps marketers do just that, including case studies from the agency and a button to reach the right person at the agency to get started.” Love to learn more, will you share? Offline if you prefer.

May We Have Your Attention Please …

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

Here we are, just about 5 years since our last major website update. We continue our motivation and efforts to remain Number One in the field of advertising agency search and agency new business development. We staked our claims for those verticals, first in  late 1994 with Sales Marketing Institute, Ltd. and then in 1997 with AgencyFinder.com. Unless someone is prepared to challenge us, I don’t think there is anyone out there with our deep and combined experience in what it takes to mount and manage an in-house agency new business program and then on the other side of the fence successfully manage a complete start-to-finish ad agency (marketing firm) client search.

On that topic, there is one distinction of which we are extremely proud. Our business model has never been challenged to be double-dipping, unethical or in any way represent a conflict of interest. Our full array of services are funded by registered marketing firm annual fees and never, I say NEVER do we request or accept payment from those who search. For the more traditional agency search consultants who are compensated by searchers (clients/advertisers), as such, participating agencies should never be asked to pay them any fees – for any reason at any time for anything. Before any client/advertiser engages any agency search consulting service, do investigate to be certain they do not engage in any form of “double-dipping.” It’s almost illegal.

Whether you’re a Blue Chip client or a full-service integrated marketing firm (by any definition), you can trust our services to always be in your best interest.

Welcome V6.0 AgencyFinder.com!

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My sincere thanks to everyone …

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

A heart-felt nod and acknowledgement to the hundreds of staff, consultants, agencies, advertisers and close friends who contributed in so many ways to our new site. Time after time, thanks for critiquing my thoughts and concepts. Time after time, thanks for sharing your concepts and ideas. I hope each of you is able to find and admire your unique contributions to this new extravaganza. Explore the Site Map to see what I mean …

My most sincere thanks – Chuck Meyst

“I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthing babies, Miss Scarlett!”

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Marketing Partenerships

Years ago, as Publisher of Richmond LifeStyle Magazine, when we launched our inaugural issue my editor’s introduction mentioned something about birthing a magazine was like birthing a baby.  Well, I just checked and “Gone With The Wind’s” maid Prissy actually claimed the opposite and said “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthing babies, Miss Scarlett!

There are distinct differences between babies and magazines, yet I can now attest to the fact that birthing this long-awaited new website was like birthing that new magazine … here the gestation period seemed to go on forever! But hallelujah, it’s “LIVE!” Please navigate to your heart’s content; discover fresh material, and if you find something broken that we missed, please let me know. Your comments are certainly welcome, but please, don’t call my baby ugly!

As I swarmed over our 2006-vintage website (we stretched that out, didn’t we!), I was repeatedly reminded just how many clients and agencies we introduced in that time. Thousands! Congratulations to each and every registered agency – that received, studied, telephoned, visited and pitched to win! I can’t name names here, but many of you will know I’m talking about YOUR agency. I’m talking about more than a few Fortune 100 companies; a bunch more Fortune 500 companies, but the majority don’t make the Fortune top lists. Most lack general public brand recognition; they’re one-notch below the visibility of the majors, yet to each of them, having a great and responsive agency partner is the difference between business life and business death.

My ambition and instruction to the AgencyFinder staff is to have “our” people talking with “your” people often. We’re your agent in the strictest sense, so we care what’s happening in your world. So we make a lot of phone calls. In doing that (for 14 years), we often run into the “New, New Business Manager” at a long-registered agency. During that encounter, we experience their natural reaction to what probably sounds like the infamous “bait & switch” sales pitch – Hi, we’re calling to update your information here at AgencyFinder …. After some degree of mutual animosity, we mention a client they won in one of our reviews and the newcomer remarks “Oh, that’s where they came from!!!” That’s the breakthrough that changes everything in our relationship. That may well be the case at your shop.

I hope you like what we’ve done. I hope clients like it and are drawn to the Registration page like a moth to a flame!

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