We just returned from a fun and enlightening three days in Boca Raton Florida. The Advertising Financial Management conference of the Association of National Advertisers was an intense immersion into the financial issues of advertising.
There were some terrific speakers like Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, who talked about client/agency relations and admonished agencies to be strong junior partners to their clients and to invest in new functional capabilities.
This was by far the biggest turnout for an ANA conference yet, and points to the increasing role of procurement in marketing. "Marketing is the new Finance" was heard more than once over the three days in which most attendees were there to gain a better understanding of best practices in agency compensation and procurement. The general feeling seemed to be that there may be some improvement in the economy, but clients are still looking to be efficient and smart about spending.
"Finance, metrics, and ROI are really driving the discussion at this conference and around the client conference table", said Evergreen-Partners' John Floto. "I think more than ever, Procurement has a seat at the table and a strong voice when it comes to selecting and managing the agency relationship."
Also attending was our Managing Partner, Gordon Zellner who added, "It seems like lots of areas are up for re-interpreting and re-working, especially when it comes to agency compensation. People seem to realize that they must try new approaches in compensation models, working more closely with internal departments, and consider new ways to integrate digital and alternative media buying strategies into the mix."
Not surprising, we had a lot of conversations about how Corporate Trade could be used to drive down costs and create greater media efficiencies. "Procurement can cut costs only so much by adjusting agency compensation and negotiating with media vendors.", stated Gordon. "They need more than just the few points of savings those moves will give them. And I think people have been through the old corporate trade models, so especially with this audience, there is definitely a growing desire to evaluate a new media platform like Evergreen-Partners."
Here are a few tweets from the conference that caught our eye:
From Ron Kline
Director of Marketing, Midmarket and Business Partners Organization
IBM: 71% of CMOs feel unprepared to manage data explosion; 68% social media; 65% channel and device choices; 63% shifting demographics.
IBM: CMOs have just three or four years to make their mark.
IBM: by 2015, ROI will be the leading measure of success for CMOs, followed by customer experience, new customers, overall sales.
From Kelly Mooney
Chief Executive Officer
Mooney: need to develop always-on teams, much like Gatorade's Mission Control, to gather consumer insights that influence the product.
Mooney: everywhere commerce is a digital trend; shopping whenever and wherever, with whatever. Brands can open/close sale in new places.
From Brian Wieser
Wieser: industry benchmarks should be viewed as reference points; use your own data to benchmark. How are you doing against yourselves?
Wieser: When looking for a new agency, don't base your decision on "lowest price" because, ultimately, you get what you pay for.
Wieser: be leery of media pricing benchmarks and forecasts because they don't really tell you a lot.
From Alan Rutherford
Axiology (and International Advertising Association Chairman & World President)
Rutherford: all markets moving toward complex/opaque media sophistication.
Rutherford: benchmarking needs to take a back seat to performance optimization.
Rutherford: we need greater transparency between the agency and the holding company.