Saturday, October 27, 2007


I have just come back from Sydney where I was attending the NINEMSN digital summit. Interesting stuff. One thing I did take note of was the many conversations around measurability of media spend. Sure we have all talked about it before, but this time it seemed different.

This is something that I have been thinking of a lot lately given I have begun to reduce my media and agency spend, but still want the same, if not more. I cannot, any longer, approve large media buys without solid quantification.

I am very aware now that marketing is becoming more strategic to our organization. First and foremost I am being asked to improve revenue generation, decrease costs and reduce marketing waste.

I read recently that by 2012, the role of the CMO will shift from one of creative brand builders to one of accountable, business oriented strategic managers with customer loyalty as their main focus.

I have more meetings these days with the CFO than I do with any other “C” in the company.

Very different from a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Who's creative is it anyway?

My wonderful friend Hashem at GSP pointed out this article from Adweek around how creative differences came between Motorola and their agency. I think it also talks to how the various Motorola marketing groups came between themselves and used the agency as the scapegoat.

Check out this link: Moto Magic from Adweek. Below you will find the TVC in question.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It’s all about the Mojo

To many agency and marketing communication types, a good client is one that spends a bucket load of money and gets out of the way so they can work their magic.

While that may be the dream of the wishful, years of experience have shown that this type of client/agency relationship rarely produces the best results. If it did, the Darwinism of business evolution would have selected it long ago.

Truly great advertising is almost always the result of the friction caused when inspired creativity hits the boundaries of a well-defined, clear business vision.

To get to this nirvana, however, requires both sides of the fence to understand their role. For us as clients, its all about creating the right mojo.

Being on the agency side for many years, I keep a list of what good client mojo looks like. To have a fruitful and satisfying relationship you may wish to consider following the rules;

(a) Great clients love and understand the role of communications - don't feel you're too important to get involved in any part of the process
(b) Appreciate all stages of the creative process. It takes time and patience and a lot of sweat to come up with a great idea
(c) Challenge agencies to be great and let them challenge you to be great
(d) Be consistent in your expectations, criteria and direction. Agencies write advertising first and foremost to suit a client's personality
(e) Know what they're talking about; understand the agency’s business as well as your own. No agency really wants to BS the client; but they don't really want to have to be constantly answering stupid questions
(f) As a client, appreciate research but don't let it be your master
(g) Acknowledge and reward, emotionally and financially great work

I also kept a list of what bad client mojo looks like. If you really want to push your agency over the edge, here are some top tips:

(a) Don’t have a clear idea of why anyone should buy your product – expect the agency to figure it out
(b) Make love to the agency one day to get their best and brightest but consider it a point of pride to screw them financially when it comes to remuneration
(c) Send too many people to the briefing sessions and make sure the list of people that have to approve work is long
(d) Think and act like ordinary people to lull the agency into a false sense of security and then demand that brand advertising has lots of elements that will only appeal to your industry insider mates.
(e) Presume that everyone wants to listen to you, so you don’t have to worry about how to really engage them
(e) Be untrustworthy. Don’t support your agency if there are any internal concerns from your bosses. Blame anything they don’t like on the agency and ignore the fact they were executing your brief.

Like all relationships the relationship between client and agency changes with time. Taking the time to understand each other and communicate will yield the best results. All successful relationships need effort to work and while sometimes it’s better to cut and run, working as one team from a place of mutual respect can produce some truly amazing work.

The core issue is that buying the services of an agency is not like buying new hardware, stationery or gum. You are buying ideas and ideas are funny things. If they are incubated in a warm environment of trust and respect, where people understand their roles and meet expectations, then you can create something pretty special.

That’s a whole other level of mojo.