How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right.
View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
"Fees, and not a 15% commission, I am told, are now the order of the day."
Sumit Roy, Founder Director, Univbrands
The word 'typewriter' and the word 'advertising' should, I believe, be left in the twentieth century along with advertising's archaic form of remuneration - percentage of billing.
Imagine trying to work in this networked world with just a typewriter. Imagine trying to establish long-term relationships with consumers with just advertising.
Move over Advertising. Welcome, Brandvertising.
I first heard the term 'Brandvertising', in the late 90's, from Alyque Padamsee. Not too surprising, since he coined it.
To me it's far more elegant than other currency that deals in the same powerful economic concept. "Integrated Marketing Communication". "Holistic Brand Communication". "MARCOM"…
The truth is, the principles of brand building that makes advertising increase in value are also the principles that help product design, pricing, packaging, placement, every form of promotion, in fact any marketing tool.
Elegantly summed up in one word. Brandvertising.
The synergistic effect of brand communication integrated in every marketing tool.
Except that the people who should benefit from this synergy have burdened themselves with a particularly obstinate albatross: remuneration based on how much you can make the client spend.
Fees, and not a 15% commission, I am told, are now the order of the day.
But notice how tenacious our albatross is. The 'below the line' specialist proudly claims that he gets the equivalent of 20% of billings! A media specialist gets a fee that's equivalent of 2.5% commission. The 'creative agency' gets fees that are 12.5% of billings. Sometimes clients manage to beat us down to lower percentages and we might accept 10% or even 9 % of the advertising spend allocated for the year, broken up into a monthly retainer, pretending to be fees. The billings are huge and the compromise is justified. But there seems to be no way of getting away from the reference point: percentage of billings.
Maybe the real albatross is the peculiar notion that bigger is somehow better. "So what's your billing these days?" And the need to answer that cocktail hour question is deciding the recommendations we make to our clients.
We're actually quite inventive about answering that question. "The combined marcom spends of our clients are ….". "Our capitalized billing has grown by……". "Net revenue is what counts, and ours is now consistently 18.5% … who can survive on that old 15%…"
But very few brand communication practitioners would be happy to report that their fees grew because they helped their clients grow their brands by spending less.
Get paid more to help clients spend less! What an absurd idea.
Absurd to anyone who's bred on 15% commission.
Common sense to any entrepreneur.
Try this method the next time you make a pitch.
Agree on a S.M.A.R.T communication objective for the marketing task. (Single-minded, Measurable, Achievable, Reviewable, Timebound.) Now at least both the client and you know what you are supposed to do. Sure, it's tough to define a S.M.A.R.T communication objective. But at least you'll know you are not conning anyone, including yourself.
Agree on a value for that objective. How much would your client happily spend and still gain by achieving that objective? What is it worth to achieve that objective?
Find alternative ways to achieve the agreed objective. (This is what we really get paid for: ideas that work better and cost less. Ask for a nominal "bid fee" if you feel the client is just shopping for ideas.)Build in your time costs to implement the idea when you cost each alternative plan. Also, include the cost of monitoring that S.M.A.R.T objective.
Recommend the plan that costs the client the least. Remember that your time has been paid for in each of the plans.
Add a healthy success fee. I recommend 50% of the amount you save your client to achieve an agreed communication objective. Payable when you deliver.
In my experience very few genuine clients refuse the offer. Because they can see that both sides win.
They get the job done for less. Their 'agents' earn a basic minimum for their time and a success fee that is in proportion to what their ideas actually deliver.
The only area you have to stay away from is 'media commission'. Build it back into the savings on expenses.
After all, whom are you working for? Your client or the media?
And do you really want to have to recommend the medicine that gives you the highest commission?
C'mon doctor, heal thyself.
In any case you'll be earning higher than the '15% media commission' and you won't fall foul of the Advertising Agencies Association, if that's your concern.
Or perhaps it's time now to start a Brandvertising Association. One that assures that brand communication specialists follow business practices that don't bring us into disrepute.
Business practices that allow us to recommend what is in the best interests of the brands we serve.
Welcome to the world of Brandvertising. And of fees based on what you can deliver.