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By Maddy Smith
Producers & Procurers iQ recent invitation-only event for marketing procurers, held in Edinburgh, was the ideal opportunity to talk about the real questions you should be asking your agency and why.
Recently, Producers & Procurers iQ launched the first Marketing Procurement and Financial Management Summit in Edinburgh. The invitation-only event was free to attend and aimed at senior marketing procurement and supported by a number of subject matter expert speakers from the industry.
The one day event saw speakers from Claire Randall Consulting, Jellyfish, Media Marketing Compliance (MMC), Reed Smith and RightSpend providing expert insight into key topics and issues in the category of marketing procurement and financial management.
With a limited number of attendees coupled with the lack of agency presence and strict Chatham House rules on confidentiality, the conference allowed for a very open and honest discussion. This enabled the summit to dive into greater detail and avoid generic conversation points, therefore more applicable to advertiser-specific challenges.
The summit covered a wide range of industry issues including programmatic & agency owned inventory media and why advertisers are often steered towards a non-disclosed model, through to examining why advertisers must not rely on media buying templates as a one-size-fits-all solution.
The summit also discussed why brands should consider taking more control of their creative assets and the relationship between rights and assets and the systems that manage them. And finally delegates were given some suggestions of searching questions that they might want to ask agencies when discussing budgets, scope of works, rate cards and FTEs.
And on that last point, RightSpend’s CEO, Iain Seers, kicked off the day by talking about how delegates can gain control of agency cost structures and deliver more from marketing budgets. He explained that the marketing procurement space is evolving into an ecosystem that can deliver greater value if buyers know what to look for.
Seers explored many aspects of marketing cost used today, what works and what doesn’t and why have we all been talking about transparency for so long but still not getting it when it comes to marketing cost in a digital age, especially where everything is recorded and tracked?
Seers went on to tell delegates that marketing procurement people need not just transparency but accuracy based on aggregated and anonymised industry wide costs and that these should indicate benchmarked components such as hourly rates, overheads and profit margins that go into the agency fees.
Seers encouraged delegates to continually benchmark scope of works and deliverables and that their agency should clearly indicate what costs should be, which people are working on which project, how many hours it ought to take to. Traditionally agencies have not been very transparent in the way they structure their costs to the client according to Seers and that where brands rely on internal benchmarking this may not reveal the true costs, recommending that market procurement professionals use an industry wide basket of real time data from similar world class brands leading to far more realistic negotiations.
Continuing on the theme of transparency and what questions you should be asking your agency, Senior Partners Stephen Broderick and Elliot Sherrington of Media Marketing Compliance, addressed the sometimes less than opaque issue of programmatic and agency-owned inventory media.
The pair assessed why advertisers are constantly being steered towards non-disclosed models, explaining some of the pitfalls of signing up to agency-owned inventory deals and highlighting the many benefits of using transparent solutions.
Broderick and Sherrington also highlighted the rise of digital and programmatic media buying, which has increased from $37.9 billion out of a total digital ad spend of $89.5 billion in 2012, to a whopping $147.1 billion in 2021 out of a total digital ad spend of $353 billion.
The session investigated the programmatic supply chain, concerns and issues with agency-owned inventory, whereby agencies buy in bulk upfront or acquire media from free media rebate deals as well as other related issues.
Broderick and Sherrington questioned the potential problem for advertisers that arise from agency-owned media; is it right for agencies to be selling their own inventory and, does this create a conflict of interest? Finally they discussed non-disclosed media and the key issues.
As well as this, Broderick and Sherrington considered the benefits of transparent media buying models, advising advertisers how, and the means required, to reclaim control of their media buying.
Nick Swimer, Media & Entertainment Partner at law firm Reed Smith, delved into why advertisers must not rely on media buying templates as a one-size-fits-all model. He explained that there are currently two main templates available – one from the ANA based in the US and ISBA based in the UK.
The presentation continued to outline the benefits and negatives of each template, explaining how the templates are designed to reflect customary issues in their respective countries.
Neither template accommodates a global media buying infrastructure and that both require a significant amount of work to take into account both versions’ options and client approval.
Swimer also explored the topic of inventory media, including the risks, how to mitigate these and how ISBA’s drafting has changed in relation to inventory media in the different iterations.
The conference also discussed the issue of value pots and realised benefits, which continue to be divisive in spite of ISBA’s best attempts to square off the circle. He also explored contractual commitments and CV tools, explaining that parties will need to bespoke the content verification arrangements.
The discussion included issues with the IAB transparency framework, unbilled media and financial hygiene. Swimer also noted that in an ISBA PWC Programmatic Supply Transfer Study of total advertiser spend, around 15% was estimated to be, what is coined, the unknown delta.
Claire Randall, of Claire Randall Consulting, addressed the issue of taking control of your assets. Having been in business for 26 years, Randall delivered her knowledge about the impact on production of the explosion of social media, looking at the four main production challenges for marketers.
The abundance of marketing channels, maintaining quality and volume of content, the lack of time in the production process and decentralised marketing structures are all key areas of concern.
In order to take back control, Randall offered her expertise in centralising production strategies, reexamining operating models and fragmenting the process to reduce the risk of duplication and rights violation.
Randall’s presentation addressed the optimum production models, outlined the benefits of centralisation, the various options for production models and their effectiveness.
With 20 years in the creative industry overseeing creative technology development and consulting initiatives, VP of Technology, Sam Yates from Jellyfish, explored the relationship between rights management and the systems that manage them.
Yates explained that information for rights management is often stored in DAM systems, but it is a complicated subject. He outlined the ways in which rights can be stored in rights management modules and highlighted that there is a huge double-sided opportunity to both better manage the risk of rights infringement whilst boosting content reuse.
The key takeaways of Yates session urged marketers to ensure they have the right technology, build a central team and to use the data which they harvest.