Monday, December 15, 2008

Avoid the “Great Depression”

There is nothing more insulting to an agency partner than to have a CMO, who has a lifespan at a company equal to the gestation period of an elephant (22 months), to swag around and feel proud for reducing their agency’s fees so they can’t make a profit. It makes the CMO feel good when he can stand in front of his boss and proudly proclaim,”Look, I saved the company money. Please give me my cornucopia sticker on my next review”.

In the meantime, your professional agency, the one who is trying come up with new ideas for you to actually make revenue, is getting swatted during an economic downturn. Now that is what I call the Great Depression.
“Great news everybody, after six weeks of procurement Ping Pong and hundreds of man hours, we retained the client. C’mon boys, you can now pull up your pants, skip to the conference room and brainstorm ideas for our client to think about new markets, new products, new channels - just remember to use half your brain ‘cause that’s all they paid us for’”.
I venture to guess that, during a recession, some marketing executives relish in the fact they just got a “New Deal”. Maybe it is just their primal nature showing through. Maybe it is because, in their business model, consumers are a mouse click away from not buying their product; somehow that doesn’t translate equally to managing a professional service firm.

Ah yes, the professional agency relationship is just a mouse click away. Except in this case it’s a new Excel formula….
= Sum (Me Look Good - Agency Fees).


“Hmmm. Microsoft Office Excel found an error in the formula you entered. Do you want to accept the correction, ‘agency out of business’? Please check your formula again.”

“Guys, I am proud to report at the executive review committee that I, like other colleagues in the CMO’land, have negotiated our fees down so much -- using veiled threats of giving the business away-- that we are now getting more and paying less -- and creating even more day-to-day inefficiencies -- and we have effectively put our lead agency out of business.

Therefore, we have elected to conduct a major agency review process. It will take approximately two weeks, um… really three months, to find the right ‘fit’. In the meantime, our go-to-market strategy will be flawed or stalled. We will just have to make do with our internal staff that has no clue about customer wants and needs. Rather, they will effectively jump high every time we point at their screen telling them how to make a turd of an idea into a turd of different color. I lean on my compatriot, EVP of Worldwide Sales, to pick up the slack as I can’t deliver this quarter.”
How about we look at the issue from completely different tact?
“Mr. Agency President, my budget has been slashed and this puts strain on the department and potentially our relationship. Now, I am not going to ask you to do more work and get paid less. I only ask of you to fairly assess the situation in its entirety including the fact we need to mix it up. You know, come up with net, new ideas to try to accomplish realistic marketing and sales goals. Perhaps you and your team can think about what we have done over the past few years, and deliver creative and efficient ways to get the consumer to buy our product in a recession. We will have our eyes wide open. And if, in the end, we collectively decide we will have to re-prioritize some of the programs, we will make some hard adjustments. We will give you access to senior management across all divisions to think about the economic issues they face so you have a complete understanding of the challenges we all face. Plus, we will be transparent with our budgets. I would suspect at that point we are collectively agreeing to the expectations up front and planned outcome at the end.

“How does that sound?”
Sounds like "The Great Gratification".

Marketing Matchup can help you find the right marketing firm for your needs. You can search by agency size, location, industry experience, marketing services provided and past creative work. If you have a marketing project in mind, sign up for a free client membership and post your project to be automatically matched with the right agencies.

Already working on a marketing project or a campaign? We have compiled a set of marketing tools that can help both clients and agencies plan and execute your next marketing project or campaign.

No comments: