It’s a pretty big understatement to say, it’s been some year, so far. We didn’t expect and couldn’t have planned for the past six months and no doubt further change and challenges lie ahead. So now we’re in the second half of 2020, what advice can we offer to marketing procurement professionals in brands, to ensure you’re match-fit for the future?
Address the flashing actions we’ve all pushed aside for the more important and urgent and get in the here and now.
Since admin and taking stock is never that appealing, we’ve come up with 5 key questions you can ask yourself right now, to hopefully fuel your thinking, help ease current marketing procurement headaches and spur future-proofing best practices.
As Winston Churchill (allegedly) once said “never let a good crisis go to waste”.
How many agencies do I have on my roster?
The simplest of questions but as some brands expand and some work to shrink their agency roster, knowing your magic number will help you manage your agency relationships and create better, more streamlined and cost effective ways of working, that will also improve speed to market and more integrated communications.
How do I assess how many agencies I have if I do not have a process in place?
Or maybe you have a process but it’s not working for you. If you are not already doing so, leveraging data and technology to track, measure and improve, not only helps gain clarity and control over spend and agency relationships but increases productivity, minimises risk and future proof so you can flex, change and respond quickly to an evolving marketing world and consumer demands.
Are my agency or agencies the right fit and right mix?
Or maybe all your agencies are consolidated within a holding company and if so, is it working for you?
The spectrum of agency roster models across brands is huge and many agencies now are working in tandem with a client’s in-house capability. Your agency model may have been right at the time but as businesses and the world changes and evolves, is it best in class now?
No single agency model is right for everyone. But asking yourself these further questions could pave a way forward:
- Has my brand evolved or have my requirements changed since we selected my current agency(ies)?
- Do my agency’s core competencies still align to my current needs?
- Are there gaps between what my agency does well and what I need my agency to do well?
- Is my agency well-suited to take my brand where it’s going versus where it’s been?
Am I getting fair and competitive rates from my agencies?
When did you last compare my agency rates against current real world benchmarks, if ever? Conversations about creating cost efficiencies, redistributing spend, holding spending, seeking proof of added value to the bottom line to existing and new spend, all may sound familiar. Assessing if your agency rates are competitive against actual negotiated contracted rates across global markets and agency disciplines is something you should do on a regular basis. Now more than ever, getting the data and insights you need to negotiate your agency contracts and ensure you get the right service, at the right price, in the right amount of time is vital. As the industry moves at an ever-quickening pace, using data and technology to assess your scopes of work, fee proposals and marketing budgets in real time can deliver significant advantages to your business.
When did I last pull my agency contracts out the drawer and dust them off?
If the answer is never or I can’t remember, now could be the time to revisit, revise and renegotiate to reflect the here and now. And not just your contracts, your agency T&Cs need to be up to date too. The world has changed, not because of the pandemic but because technology is ever-evolving and so contracts need to change too, to reflect these innovations and the status quo.
Having straight up conversations about money, time and process with your agency partners is never easy but being armed with the tools, data and insights to do so is a great starter for 10.