I walked away from the AANA (Australian Association of National Advertisers) ‘Hothouse’ on client-agency relationships full of enthusiasm. It was a great gig with 100 or so known faces in the industry.
The topic of the day was VALUE:
Q1 – Is the agency model obsolete?
Q2 – How should clients assess agency value?
Q3 – What are the factors for a successful/ productive client-agency relationship?
The names on the panel were senior agency and, more numerous, senior marketers. The gig was introduced by the formidable (and universally respected) Joe Talcott. The minor sponsor was Aprais – they paid for our lunch. Thank you Richard and Malcolm. And Darren Woolley was the major sponsor, which allowed him to chair the panel. (Darren, sometimes from TrinityP3, is now, apparently, from Evalu8ing. Evalu8ing makes Darren the rival tool to Aprais. Only Aprais is more than a tool, but we’ll come to that. (Oops, I just called Darren a tool. Sorry, Daz!)
Therein lies the problem. The gig was sponsored by agency relationship tools (the well-known and well-loved Aprais and the unknown, cheaper and apparently more accessible, Evalu8ing). These tools are all about VALUE. But…
VALUE is only a subset of SUCCESS.
Phew, got that off my chest.
Dec 20, 2010 at 8:26 am
James, relationship and performance tools, like all tools, are only tools. The benefit is what you do with them. And having a process for measuring and managing relationship performances is better than none, or having one you never use. Like the friend of mine who has a full tool shed but then stands inside it reading as an excuse to get away from his family.
As to value is only part of success, I would be interested in knowing what you would use as a measure of success in a commercial relationship? If you are not in the business of advertising to add value to your clients business, what are you doing? And if your clients are not in the business of marketing to add value to the business and shareholder value in listed companies, what are they doing?
Of course there are other things in life than just financial value, but for a commercial enterprise this is the universal measure. It is not the only measure but it is a better starting place than having no measure at all.
And currently many CEOs and CFOs see marketing and their agencies as a cost, because there is no obvious contribution to value.
Dec 20, 2010 at 9:19 am
Thanks for dropping in, Darren! I was being flippant (again) and you should know that I’m aware of the value of your tool – only Aprais always comes with third party (objective) feedback and evalu8ing, I understand, is normally sold as a standalone, do-it-yourself product. I hope more clients start to afford to buy it along with your team’s consultancy hours.
Value is a vital measure of success. Agreed. And that agencies & advertisers need to have the tools to measure their worth (aka value) to CFOs is not being questioned. But clients should count value as one measure of success (albeit heavily weighted to give it due importance).
Another vital measure of success is trust. The former Toyota marketing head honcho, Peter Webster, at that AANA hothouse also talked about trust as a measure of succes. Perhaps when trust is gone it’s time to end the relationship. I wonder if that’s why he left his job. Trust is measured in feet – when there’s not enough trust the feet start walking. But that’s a whole ‘nother subject.