Blog Posts

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!

Social Networking Milestone – Facebook’s Timeline

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

Just in time for the holidays; a time of family, friends and old acquaintances. The warmth of a friendly fire, chestnuts roasting there and all that …  In keeping with that theme and thought, the radio announcement I heard in the car earlier this week declared that Facebook’s new Timeline offers “a richer experience meeting people on-line than meeting them face-to-face!”

From your new business perspective then, why bother! What a corruption of human intercourse … Gads!

How to Conduct an Agency Search: ANA, 4A’s Offer Guidelines

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

After Spate of Long, Unwieldy Reviews, Agency and Advertiser Associations Give Advice to Head off Trouble Before It Bubbles up

AdAge broke the news Oct 3rd – go there for the full article and comments. The entire white paper can be found on the 4A’s and ANA websites. Highlights were:

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS IN 4A’S/ANA GUIDELINES

1.If procurement is going to be involved, decide if its role will be as a facilitator or driver, and be clear with agencies about fact.

2.The ideal amount of time for a search process is three months, and the ideal number of shops who answer a request for proposal is no more than eight.

3.Decide whether a formal search is necessary or whether you can identify a select number of shops — internally — or with the help of a consultant to participate in a streamlined, closed process.

4.Have a discussion about compensation early on, not at the end of the process. Agencies should bring up the topic even if a marketer doesn’t.

5.Agencies shouldn’t do a bait-and-switch, bringing in one team to secure the account, and assigning another to do the work. Ensure the client meets the people who will work on their business.

6.Agency visits are a must and cultural compatibility should be weighed just as heavily as capabilities. Clients should understand how the agency behaves overall and should select the whole agency, with its values and staff, not just the handful of people who pitched the business.

7.An agency’s culture shouldn’t only be complementary to a marketer, but also to the other agencies on the marketer’s roster.

8.Speculative work presented by an agency during a review frequently doesn’t translate into a campaign, so decide if it’s really a necessary part of the process. If it is, allocate enough time for agencies to deliver the assignment.

9.Offer non-winning agencies a debriefing phone call and give them honest feedback.

One writer from Europe commented that search consulants were missing from those on the authoring committee.  That might have been helpful, but I suggest they covered most that counts.  When clients see how much is actually involved in an agency review, they might be inclined to take the process more seriously.

I was pleasantly surprised to read that their recommendations reflect what we’ve been advocating and doing literally since we began way back in 1997. We also subscribe to the number of initial invitations as well as those that get the RFP (we use an RFD – Dialogue). And in particular, the agency visit is almost a “non-option”, since that’s when the client can make both chemistry and creative decisions. You’ve got to see the “shops!”  Good job folks!

Chuck Meyst declares – Here’s to agency new business!  

 

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 ..

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!

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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