Marketing Procurement Blog

Simple Marketing Messages are key to flexibility and effectiveness

Posted by on in Advertising, Marketing, Return on Investment (ROI), wasted spend | Comments Off on Simple Marketing Messages are key to flexibility and effectiveness

Cutting marketing spend seems to be the current focus for most but that shouldn’t have an impact on your efficiency. One way to cut costs but remain effective is to ensure you’re getting the most out of your advertising. I want to get back to the root of marketing and go over the importance of keeping your marketing messages simple and overall, understandable. By ‘marketing messages’, I mean how you convey who you are and what you do, to different target groups. This does sound simple although the number of complicated and indistinguishable messages that appear across our media channels seems to suggest that simple doesn’t come that simply to all. There are a number of reasons why this is occurring but it’s really only down to two parties. Either the advertising agencies are creating indecipherable messages through overly creative strategies or the campaign management aren’t clear on their desired messages and target market. Having clear and simple marketing messages requires that, firstly, you know what your customers actually want from you and secondly, you are courageous enough to exclude aspects from your messages so you can remain focused.  If you are not absolutely clear about what really motivates your customers then the temptation is to not exclude anything from your messages whereby advertising multiple products or services.  The thinking being that by promoting and communicating everything you do, you will appeal to the widest audience however this ‘generalist’ approach is usually less successful and often more complicated to express. You’ll probably find that the agencies would be more than happy to agree with this generalist approach as it will often give them more of a free reign on the creativity but this will not necessarily appeal to the wider audience that you’re targeting. If you know what motivates your customers and you require a number of messages then you can still create a variety of motivations but employ them individually. Focus each marketing campaign on one or two groups of customers with one or two core messages.  Taking this approach also gives you more to say to your customers over a period of time whilst retaining a fresh and renewed approach to your marketing which provides greater flexibility. Carefully present target groups with your messages one at a time, one campaign at a time then test responses and tweak them for full effectiveness. Greater flexibility allows you to remain topical and react to the ever changing market but it is also fundamental in retaining a competitive advantage. A good example where marketing messages were misconstrued can be seen when ESPN launched their ESPNW platform dedicated to women. The original thought was that it “portrayed women as unable to understand or appreciate sports in the same way as men.”  There was understandably uproar until many statements later, they outlined that it is “…not about segregating women, either in terms of readership or coverage, it’s about creating a platform that caters to women.” Read the article to find out what happened. So in summary, remember to stay simple and stay flexible to create Marketing...

read more

Marketing Factory letter published in Marketing Week on the 31st January 2013

Posted by on in Marketing, Media, Return on Investment (ROI), Social Media, wasted spend | 0 comments

                  Marketers have been warned to take their social media activity more seriously and enforce higher standards of planning, strategy and evaluation into campaigns on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to boost their effectiveness. ————————————– It certainly is the ‘must do’ of the times but I’ve come across many companies through our social media surveys as well as clients who are simply on-board with social media just for the sake of it. To be on Facebook and Twitter isn’t for everyone and so its use must be approached with a clear and precise strategy separate from other channels. If you are going to utilise social media then do it for the right reasons. The current dynamic of social media platforms make it difficult to analyse the full potential in terms of intrinsic benefits so don’t use them to generate revenue. What they are incredibly good at is connecting like-minded consumers together to what they’re interested in. Providing valuable content and interaction is the key to drive your social media strategy and should be initiated accordingly. Having clear objectives and accurate planning will allow you to maximise these strategic benefits creating a stable base for your company to grow. If you’re not sure about what strategy to take then seek advice as mistakes are easily made and...

read more

Get a MINI for less than a chocolate bar

Posted by on in Marketing | 0 comments

We all know the ‘Boris Bike’ hire scheme by Barclays. You need to get somewhere in London; you don’t own a bike and don’t feel like getting public transport, so you hop on a rental bike. Free for the first half hour and £1.00 for an hour, this scheme has proven to be a marvellous idea. As the days and nights are getting rather a lot chillier than a few weeks ago however, I envisage these bikes not to be as popular as they are in the summer, being left un-ridden and eventually covered in snow. Welcome the MINI. Apparently inspired by Barclays’ idea to bring affordable personal transport to the masses, today MINI is launching a car hire scheme on London’s Berkley Square, where you can rent one of their MINI Coopers for an hour at a time. The cost for renting? Just 26p for an hour. This is equivalent to the hourly rate should you be buying a MINI Cooper on their finance package costing £189 per month. Noted however, the car needs to be vacated once the hour is up or prepare to face a penalty. MINI’s manifesto ‘bring Mini to the masses’ has been boosted by this so called the MINI Fun Hire Service . It will run until Christmas in London, and if successful the scheme will be rolled out to other cities in the UK, with the possibility of it becoming permanent. The kiosk in Berkley Square will be manned by a MINI employee who will assist with the rentals. There is no need to return the car to the original spot of hire, as MINI will pick up the car from where the driver has left it. As the MINI Cooper has low CO2 emission, it makes this car exempt from road tax and Congestion Charge. Saving money on public transport, cheaper than the Boris Bikes, not to mention being able to carry more than one person AND keeping warm through the winter (if only for an hour), this scheme, on the surface, looks to be a very clever approach to...

read more

Are Media Agencies taking Advantage of you? – A Marketing Procurement Breakfast at The Gherkin

Posted by on in Costing, Marketing, Media, News, wasted spend | 0 comments

We’ve just held another of our Networking Events which focus on current trends and topics of the marketing and marketing procurement world. This particular event was a breakfast round table discussion focusing on Media Agencies and the transparency in billing with particular reference to unbilled media and rebates. We held this breakfast in a private dining room on the 32nd floor at The Gherkin which proved to have, as expected, great views of a surprisingly sunny morning in central London. This was also the first visit for many of the attendees so a fair few photos were taken which brought out the tourist in all of us. This event featured special guests Adrian Jenkins, a forensic accounting expert and Eduardo Salazar, a marketing effectiveness and analytics expect to shed some light on these areas of potential savings and inefficiency. We assembled senior marketing, marketing procurement and financial representatives from major organisations from FMCG, Fashion, Food & Drink and Finance industries to join the experts to share information, experiences, concerns and even some horror stories regarding this hot topic. The attendees were able to voice their opinion with other like-minded professionals, providing highly insightful and interesting discussions and debates. We found that these problems and issues are not unique to any one company size or industry but in fact remain and an area of concern for all that purchase media whether above or below the line and whether domestically or overseas. The only similarity that our guests uncovered was in the way that agencies reacted to the conversation regarding transparency in billing- with disdain! The event proved to be a massive success for all involved, providing a great deal of food for thought and insightful thinking on a topic that many are speaking about. For more information on this topic, this event or any other Marketing Factory event then please feel free to contact...

read more

What’s up with the advert attention?

Posted by on in Advertising | 0 comments

For the past few weeks, one question has really been niggling in my mind. What is it with the Chanel No.5 advert featuring Brad Pitt? Why they hype? The more people are moaning about it (“Brad sold out”…”It’s ludicrous”…”The advert is bonkers”), the more attention the advert is getting, hence letting the advert do what it’s meant to do… This advert has been ridiculed, parodied even. It’s been written about in newspapers. I must say that Chanel’s TV adverts are not usually my favourite (I am unsure about the mini movie-type adverts of late), but I didn’t see much hype about the advert with Nicole Kidman, or Kiera Knightly. Perhaps it’s the monologue Brad has with himself that is a bit cringe. But people, the more discussions, the more advertising space and time for Chanel. And it’s like the age old trick when you tell someone not to do something then they will do it (“Don’t think of a pink elephant”). Don’t go and view the Chanel No.5 advert featuring Brad...

read more

What are the risks of having a bad contract? Marketing procurement can help.

Posted by on in Procurement | 0 comments

What are the risks of having a bad contract? Marketing procurement can help.

As marketing procurement professionals we see this all the time. Suppliers trying to force spurious wording onto clients who don’t really understand what they’re signing up to. These small anomalies may seem fairly innocuous at the time, but the test of good contract comes only when the relationship is under pressure. Having a contract with clear wording and explicit language around key points is imperative to ensuring that when push comes to shove, everyone is really clear on what the intention was when the contract was signed. People move on, businesses change. The contract remains. As an example of why it’s really important to get this right I would cite a recent example. A new client of ours asked to conduct a general review of their marketing arrangements; a large part of the marketing spend was focused around media buying. Naturally our first stop was to look at the current contract, and ensure everything was contractually in good shape. This is where the problems begin. The agency in question (one of the largest in the world), had been working under a draft contract since the beginning of the relationship. There were a number of draft versions, but as happens, the people involved have move on and the draft contract stayed as just that, a draft. It was clear the contract had been put together by the supplier and worked over by the clients legal team, but had not been looked at by anyone with any commercial or category expertise. The issues that have arisen are profound, including the identification of hundreds of thousands of euros worth of rebates and unbilled media that have not been passed back to the client. The client is adamant that this should be reimbursed (they thought they were only paying the agreed fee), and because the wording is not explicit the agency are clearly unhappy about handing it over. So what happens? The supplier relationship goes south. The supplier claimed they want an open and transparent relationship, but do they really? History suggests this may not be the case. Could this situation have worked out differently? Yes, a good clear contract that is specific and thoughtful, worked through by people who really understand the issues would have avoided this in the first place. Not surprisingly this isn’t the only time we’ve come across this. It’s more and more common to find this type of scenario. Even when the client has a contract, it’s often the case that the wording is ambiguous, sometime purposefully. Is it not time that when a supplier states they want to be open and transparent that they actually follow through on that...

read more

The Marketing Factory is changing the face of unbilled media forever

Posted by on in News | 0 comments

Press Release For immediate release Thursday, 28th September 2012 ———————————— The Marketing Factory, a specialist marketing procurement and marketing analytics consultancy, has today launched a primary research initiative into how unbilled media, rebates and contracts are handled within client companies. Anecdotal evidence over the past 18 months suggests that there is a multi-sector issue with how media buying agencies handle rebates and unbilled media for their clients and the Marketing Factory is seeking to address the issue. This is a spectre that has blighted the industry and helps to maintain a view held by many that media agencies don’t operate in an open and transparent way “This is a spectre that has blighted the industry and helps to maintain a view held by many that media agencies don’t operate in an open and transparent way. The purpose of this research is to understand the scale of the problem and identify areas of particular concern. We have seen some particularly egregious cases of manipulation by agencies over the past 18 months,” says Marketing Factory Director, Milan Panchmatia. “It’s high time that agencies are completely transparent about how they earn their money, and stop looking to top-up their earnings through rebates or unbilled media that really should be paid back to the client”. The research covers all sectors of media usage within the UK and is targeting not only marketing managers and directors but also CEOs and CFOs who are more likely to be unaware of the issue of unbilled media. “We are targeting as wide an audience as possible in this research and would welcome the participation of any client organisations who spend £1m+ on media. Participants in the survey will also receive a copy of the summary findings,” said Nicci van Ketel, Consulting Manager at Marketing Factory. To participate in this survey you can do so by visiting : http://www.marketing-factory.co.uk/surveys/unbilled About the Marketing Factory The Marketing Factory is a London based international management consultancy that provides marketing procurement and marketing analytics solutions to a global client base. Utilising in-depth industry expertise, proprietary IT as well as innovative technology solutions, the Marketing Factory is able to provide its client base with innovative and efficient solutions. Categories covered include marketing procurement, marketing effectiveness and analytics, as well as category management and outsourcing solutions]. If you have any media queries then please contact Elliott Harvey on +44 (0)20 7605...

read more

It’s all about expertise. Marketing Procurement IS complex.

Posted by on in Media, Procurement | 0 comments

With all due respect to the many procurement people out there, consultancies and internal departments alike. Unless you have multi sector, category specific knowledge – (that’s growing by the day) it’s just not going to cut it anymore. There are some excellent procurement consultancies out there that work across all the usual categories, and in this mix they normally cover marketing procurement.  As far as we can see, based on the work that we pick up after they leave, they generally lack the deep category knowledge required. This problem is exacerbated by the suppliers out there, in particular the big agencies, that are incredibly sophisticated, have vast experience and an army of lawyers and commercial specialists who’ve been through this process dozens of times. It’s time for client companies to realise that unless you are immersed in the subject and have a pool of people who truly excel in their own specialist areas, you are never going to get the results you desire. The same problem exists within the ranks of clients’ own procurement departments. These very able people come from a wide range of procurement specialisms and aim to apply all of the same principals to the marketing category. Sure, some of this knowledge will carry across, however in order to really deliver against the brief you’ve got to know the subject inside out and have the relationship with the marketing department to make it work. This takes time and focus. One of the difficulties here, for internal departments, is the ability to see patterns, trends and learning’s on a cross sector basis. Ok, sure, this sounds like a consultancy selling consultancy services, but the truth is that we see examples every week, where our clients, and our own primary research can be applied across sectors to benefit of all our clients. This pool of data allows us to draw much wider conclusions, and apply cost pressure on suppliers that is rational, defensible and logical. It’s not all about the cost, it’s about value for money for the client and ensuring that the efficiency/cost ratio is right. To give you a graphic example of this; We had a call with a media agency today where they wanted to keep 50% of all unbilled media money for themselves, claiming the high level of risk they carried, as well as this being a standard clause for all their clients (across their group of agencies) as well as across the industry. If we’d not been involved this clause would have passed without the client being able to argue effectively against it. As is turns out we have a contract from another agency within that agency grouping confirming that all unbilled monies should be credited back. Is it time to outsource your marketing procurement? Just a...

read more

The great rebate debate. Shock horror!

Posted by on in Marketing, Procurement, Return on Investment (ROI), wasted spend | 0 comments

On today’s Adage there was a story about how rebates in the US are becoming more commonplace. Shock Horror! This practice is widespread in Europe and in particular in the UK, but i’m not sure this practice is that much of a concern if your procurement team has done it’s job properly. Having an experienced hand with you in the negotiations, and as part of the selection team, will ensure that the contract you get covers you off with regards to rebates and incentives. Agencies today do understand the role of the procurement department and when challenged (in the right way) are more than happy concede the point around rebates. Where there is a problem, and this is something that we see increasingly, is where the client is mid sized and doesn’t have the procurement support – or where they do it’s not sufficiently experienced enough in marketing procurement to spot or understand the pitfalls. Calling in a specialist doesn’t need to costs the earth and if you can only afford it on a tactical basis it will still deliver significant dividends when you sign that all important contract. the original article can be found here....

read more

Is this the best promotion ever?

Posted by on in Marketing, Return on Investment (ROI) | 0 comments

Virgin to reward most frequent flyer with free trip into space http://galacticcontest.virginamerica.com/ I think that if you’re one of the many who travel long haul on a regular basis (and particularly if you travel first or business) this is by far and a way the best offer I have ever seen. The offer is across all of the virgin networks and if you’re the lucky member who signs in and earns the most status points throughout the year you will win a suborbital space flight with their partners at Virgin Galactic. This surely will tempt a host of people away from the competition; the lure of space for many will be far too irresistible. What I love about this is the uniqueness and the fact that it can’t be replicated by any other airline. I now just need to find a client willing to pay first class and send me round the world for the nest year! If you’re out there, please don’t be shy give me a...

read more