Be Proactive, Not Reactive!

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Costing, Marketing, Procurement, Return on Investment (ROI), wasted spend

As a consultancy marketing procurement we are normally called in by companies to help solve a problem. It’s usually the case that they need to cut back costs in some form or another, so we’ll look through their data and speak to their suppliers to ensure they are getting the best value for money on all aspects of their marketing spend. Nine times out of ten, we will find that there are enormous savings to be had, working practices to amend and marketing activities to align. To the client, this all sounds great. We charge a fee that is comparatively insignificant to the savings they make, get on with the work and help their company to get the value for money they need. Job done. Increasingly, companies are bringing in external experts to turn around the fortunes of their struggling brands and businesses. I recently read an article based on Beatrice Lafon, who has built a reputation as one of the world’s top fixers having worked with retailers such as M&S, Dorothy Perkins and River Island to helping address the problems they face. More recently, Lafon has been setting down roots as the president of Claire’s Accessories Europe, where she is working on an essential recovery plan for the...

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BIG is good, but SMART is better

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Advertising, Cost Transformation, Costing, Marketing, Media, Return on Investment (ROI)

Marketing Effectiveness: There are many occasions when adopting the ‘be big’ attitude works and works well. Large TV advertising campaigns such as Guinness’$20million ‘Tipping Point’ or the £13.4million advert Aviva Insurance used to promote their name change from Norwich Union highlight the potential successes and failures of going ‘big’. They can lead to an award winning memorable and talked about campaign (Guinness), or they can just as easily leave consumers underwhelmed (Aviva).  Like many marketing channels, ‘big’ can be used effectively but how efficient or necessary is it? We understand that certain brands require this approach but for the most part, we prefer to be ‘smart’ rather than ‘big’. Often, being smart with your strategy can provide you with both greater efficiency and effectiveness on your investment, but this doesn’t necessarily mean lower spending. Obviously, you can decrease your spend by being smarter with the marketing channels you use and the activities that you opt for within each of them. However, with marketing budgets normally set in place, the money is already there. So why not spend the same amount but spend it better? This way everyone wins!’ Social media is a good example of being too focused on ‘big’ as many companies invest time and resources in appearing...

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

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Costing, Marketing, Media, News, wasted spend

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...

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Activity Based Costing- How do you put a price on Creativity?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Costing, Return on Investment (ROI)

As I’m sure you’re aware, we’ve had a number of dinners over the past few years focusing on various marketing and marketing procurement topics with the most recent, on Activity Based Costing. This started me blogging on this issue and after speaking with various representatives from market leading companies and a bit of market research; I found that there are vast quantities of theory behind the issue but relatively little practical evidence. The majority of these companies looked at ABC many years ago when it suddenly became popular but quickly abandoned the process after either struggling to implement the system or failing to achieve substantial returns. We found that its original purpose was focused on the financial side and therefore only relative for the accounting characteristics however we prefer to look at it as having 2 or 3 objectives. One obviously being the ability to accurately account for individual agency activities but the secondary and tertiary elements focus on increasing efficiency of these activities through driving out wastage, decreasing costs, improving agency relationships and build effective partnerships. I have spoken about the benefits and costs of implementing and maintaining ABC in recent blogs but I want to talk about one area that, if ABC is to succeed, requires extra...

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Activity Based Costing- Breakfast Bonanza

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Costing

As many of you were aware, we recently held another of our Networking Events focusing on activity Based Costing and agency costing. This event in particular featured 2 special guests, directors from top agencies Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and JWT. We held the event in the private room of a –literally- top London restaurant situated on the 32nd floor of an iconic building giving the breakfast an amazing view over the City of London on what had to be one of the year’s most beautiful mornings. We assembled senior marketing and marketing procurement representatives from major organisations from FMCG, Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals, Food & Drink, Charity and Media industries to join the agencies to discuss ABC and agency remuneration. In the private dining room of the restaurant we sat and debated the issues surrounding ABC, agency costing and the client-agency relationship. The attendees were able to voice their opinion with other likeminded professionals providing highly insightful and interesting discussions and debates. The primary focus found that neither agencies nor their clients are running at full-efficiently and that focusing merely on costs is too short-term and will hinder long-term productiveness. In order to control the costs associated with agencies while insuring a high quality of service and implementing cost cutting programmes,...

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