Tag Archives: ad agency

Show Us the Money. The Joys of Agency/Client Transparency.

If you’re gun shy about disclosing your marketing budget, join the crowd. Maybe you were traumatized by a used car salesman at a tender age, or got a hose job from an unscrupulous ad agency, and you’ve learned to hold the money cards.

We would kindly suggest, get over it. It’s hurting your ability to get the best from your agency, and lack of transparency on either side of the agency/client relationship erodes trust. And, if you don’t’ trust your agency, why are you working with them?

Bereft of a budget, agencies will punt with an array of strategies, and none work to your advantage:

  • Guess based on marketing allocations within your industry, and inquiries to publishers and media outlets to determine what you spent in the past.
  • Over plan for a budget you don’t have, which wastes your time and the agency’s.
  • Go low, cut corners, and pile on features by using junior people to execute your work.
  • And the good agencies, the one’s you most want on your work, will simply choose not to play.

In other words, you’re inviting agencies to take a trip to Walmart with your very important project.

Instead of telling an agency to plop out a number for, say, a website. Ask which of your important goals can they achieve within your budget. Find out how they plan to allocate your budget and what they will deliver. If you’re running a review, or a competition for a prime project, leveling the field is the only way you can realistically compare agencies – at least on a financial basis.

Laying your budget on the line may seem counterintuitive. After all, if we know what’s in your piggy bank, won’t we spend it all? Darn tooting! You told us the important objectives you want to achieve. And you determined that if you invested “x” amount in marketing, the ROI would make it worth it. So why not cough up the numbers?

All this takes valuable time and energy, which should be applied to determining strategy and the most effective way to allocate the budget you do have.

Reap the Rewards of Transparency

  1. Tell your agency your marketing objectives strategy and budget. And focus your agency team on developing the most effective way to spend it.
  2. Evaluate agencies based on what they can do for your money, not how much they spend.
  3. Create an atmosphere of transparency and trust from the start. Agencies will respond with extra attention and work to live up to their part of the bargain.
Comments Off on Show Us the Money. The Joys of Agency/Client Transparency. Back to Top

Ants, Advertising and Better Decision Making

Inside view of an ant’s brain

What’s the best way to make a decision? Should you go rogue, or consult with a group? New research about ants gives insight into decision making that you can tryout with picking movies or cracking a gnarly marketing problem.

Popping up an idea into a bold advertising campaign, for example, requires dozens if not hundreds and thousands of decisions. Clients, writers, art directors, account managers, photographers, and animators make them individually or collectively.

Going solo, the psychological impact of excessive choice is overwhelming and counterproductive to decision making. This is why we sometimes settle for the tried and true, like ordering the same latte every day, because you don’t have time to explore the other 40 options.

For people in advertising, especially, settling is not an option. The same old, same old, doesn’t work. So how can we make better creative decisions?

For better results, act like an ant.

By studying ants, Temnothorax rugatulusants, Scientists at the Arizona State University showed that six-legged creatures are just as vulnerable to information overload as we are.

In the experiment, a single ant, and then a colony of ants were unleashed to find the most suitable of eight possible nests. The ants had to consider a number of variables, including the size and darkness of the prospective dwelling, and the characteristics of, and the and opening to their nests, and the size of the opening. In other words, house hunting.

Single ants made poor choices 50% of the time. But the group of ants shared Intel through scents and made better decisions. It’s fascinating that the ants were able to synthesize, when only one had visited all eight nests. “One of them visited all eight nests, but most colony members visited only one or two nests, said Dr. Takao Sasaki, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences.

“What we really want is a more complete understanding as to how this society works as a kind of distributed brain,” said co-researcher and associate professor Stephen Pratt. He further suggests that this type of “distributed brain” may have uses in robotics. Our brains work in a similar way. The frontal cortex takes charge of problem solving after considering decisions made by other parts of the brain.

The downside of collective decision-making is speed, and potential group think. But if you’re ultimate goal is to make an important choice, you’ll do better if you listen to the IT guy, engineering, marketing, and customers, and, of course, the ad agency. None of them will have the complete picture, but exposing additional facets, facts, and conclusions will result in better decision.

In a complex, technological society, no one can has all the answers. So, instead of squishing the next ant you see, you might want to start acting like one.

If you enjoyed this piece, consider subscribing to this blog’s RSS Feed.

Comments Off on Ants, Advertising and Better Decision Making Back to Top

How to Make Your Advertising Agency Leave

We love our clients, but not every ad agency is so lucky. This is for the other guys. Right now it seems like they’ll take everything that you dish out. But sooner or later they’ll realize that the crappy work you insist on is hurting their brand. They’ll figure out that the profit on your business is marginal. That the cost to morale isn’t worth it, and they’ll hunt down your worst nightmare of a competitor and work as hard as they can to put you in the box. Need some tips?

Treat your agency as an expense instead of a partner. Play coy and withhold information about budgets, so your agency can concept work you can’t afford to produce. Demand that the agency’s top people to your business. Run a straw poll with residents at your grandmother’s retirement home. Oh yes, your ass is covered. Scream often, because that’s what people in charge do. And never acknowledge the agency sweat and blood that’s driving your business. Lie. Arbitrarily make changes to work, preferably at the last minute. Insist on 24/7 access to your agency, but don’t return phone calls or emails. Hire multiple agencies, pit them against each other and expect their loyalty, and drop it that you’re “talking to other people.”

Guess what? You’re fired.

Comments Off on How to Make Your Advertising Agency Leave Back to Top