Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Marketing Society - Where Is the Real Deal?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Marketing Society - Where Is the Real Deal?

Article excerpt

Marketing readers feed on a rich diet of change. Accounts are always moving. The marketing executives who make agency appointments seem to switch jobs frequently. The life expectancy of an agency relationship? Three years at best.

Perhaps it is time we took stock of these relationships. Are they partnerships?

Not in the strictest sense. Are they purchaser/supplier situations? Literally, yes, but hopefully more than that. Will the parties sign a contract? Probably: 85% of ISBA members have contracts with their principal agencies. And what form will it take? Almost certainly some variant of the standard ISBA/IPA model. What will that contain? About 38 pages of provision for things going wrong, tempered with a detailed description of process.

Does it say that if the members of the client team who made the agency appointment are off, then so is the deal? No. Does it allow the client to walk away if the agency it selected changes beyond recognition? No.

The contract is also unlikely to contain heroic clauses about the reason the agency was appointed in the first place, which was presumably to help the client storm barriers and climb mountains.

After two decades on the agency side and 16 years trying to help clients and agencies make relationships as productive as possible,I believe what is really missing is a deal. I'm not talking about the purely financial aspect that is so important to the procurement people, but about the deals you find in business biographies. Big deals. Life-changing deals Ambitious deals, with the heady aroma of win-win. …

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