Client / Agency Compensation: the 4As speaks (plus an idea or two)

A recent story in Ad Age suggests that the 4As have released a position paper on agency compensation. While you have to applaud the idea of a paper that offers both parties some guidelines on how to figure out  this increasingly thorny issue, what more might be done? Here are some quick thoughts that have do doubt been discussed, but may be worth surfacing:

  • The clients have consultants helping them negotiate – agencies, do we need them? (I’m thinking about potentially guys like Tim Williams, or ex-agency CFO-types. Or maybe even firms that serve M&A needs. (But not professionals who make play both sides. Let’s just not go there right now.)
  • Is this a service the 4As could provide to members? They have a group of management pros that have seen it all. Is this kind of help available now? Is there a difference in providing behind-the-scenes phone consultation vs. actually sitting at the agency’s side? Is that a revenue generating oppty for the 4As?
  • What kinds of training and knowledge acquisition opportunities exist for client-side procurement? Could that be made available through an ANA/4As partnership? If they do exist, how can our industry be made more aware of it. Basic how-to-search guides exist and are helpful. Marketers appreciate these think-pieces. Could these be made into a series? Could it be taken out on the road? Could the trade groups create a NY event around this?

Just yesterday I heard about an awful experience an agency is having in a pitch with procurement and compensation. Ugly stuff.

This is one of the most troubling problems in our industry. It’s good to keep talking about potential solutions. If you have any thoughts around this, or want to share a frustration or two here, please do!

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