Right now I’m doing a lot of planning around 2010 for clients and I’ve had a lot of discussions around there being simply too many digital suppliers that do the same thing.
The solution. Cut back in areas that you can – do you really need to deal with 5 ad networks? Do you really need to deal with ten News sites? Or 10 sports sites? Or 15 ‘web 2.0/social networks’ … or 25 tiny magazine sites. Or 30 third party networks?
My answer. No, you don’t. And you don’t have to cop the sh*tty service many dish out and hide behind ‘it’s a new medium Ben, you’ve got to understand we’re all still making errors.’ Rubbish – it’s a 15 year old industry worth almost $2b dollars. Get your operation in order. Actually, all of us need to be more professional.
This year a lot of my thought and work has been around scaling right back on my suppliers and working with those that offer great service, ideas, understanding (real understanding) into their users and a commitment to more than putting their hands out for entitled money.
Less dealing with operators that skew their figures, make empty claims around their audience (“the most engaged”, “the most premium”, “the most elusive” blah blah) and fail to deliver even the basic elements of the contract.
And I am bloody wrapt to say, it’s paying off and 2010 is looking great in terms of partners. Service Level Agreements are becoming a reality as is a longer term view and working harder at things that really matter. I’ve worked out – you can’t be friends with everyone and you can’t keep spreading investment across every dude who is running a web business. It makes no sense and there’s no compelling reason or research to do it.
Anyway – I wrote this post about 6 months ago and thought it was worth revisiting. Enjoy!
One issue that is commonly spoken about is how many resources marketers and agencies can handle in regards to suppliers.
It’s a valid question.
There’s web publishers. Ad Servers/Ad Technology. Mobile suppliers. In Game suppliers. SEO. SEM. Research and data.
There’s some claims that media agencies have 150 touchpoints alone when it comes to publishers or third party sales companies.
With digital the thing that makes it great and difficult at the same time is the huge amount of choice. An agencies role is to evaluate all options and come back to the client with the best way of investing their budget.
However with constant downward pressure on fees and resource you have to ask the question how long is this sustainable.
Can a planner look at 150 different options with diligence but also do it in a way that makes sense financially for the agency? This might take 80 head hours … but what if the client doesn’t want to pay for 80 head hours? Or what if the budget is small and the agency is on a commission percentage?
And can an agency come back with a final plan that has 25-35 suppliers on it and also manage this – delivery, optimisation, trafficking, negotiations, added value etc – in a way that means it’s not costing them money to adequately represent clients?
Automation isn’t the answer as almost everything is done manually.
Maybe an answer is looking at the companies that effectively sell the same properties/audiences etc and cutting back your preferred supplier list.
Or setting trading demands and rules of engagement around billing/trafficking/pricing upfront and consolidating efforts within these partners.
This post originally appeared on May 20, 2009.