Filed under: Advertising [Planning] School On The Web
So it’s been a long time since we did an Advertising Planning School on the Web [APSOTW] assignment but that is about to change.
Before I get to it, I just want to say sorry for the long gap between challenges … with Gareth and Andrew starting new jobs and me being both lazy and preoccupied with personal matters, it’s been hard to find the time to get things done.
But excuses aside, we are all big fans of the program and so will endeavour to ensure this will have been the longest gap between assignments. [Just don’t hold us to it]
Over the years we have covered all manner of subjects … from communication challenges to creating creative arguments to even making a pitch for business … but in all cases, they’ve been fairly directly limited to the craft of planning.
But the thing is, planning is way beyond just ‘the ads’ – or it should be – so this assignment is going to be different.
It’s less about coming up with a creative idea for a brand and more about how to keep your client.
Of course you could argue this is not your responsibility – at least not beyond doing your job well – however if you want to have more influence in how your agency runs and develops, you should make it your responsibility.
Because of this, I have chosen a situation that is all-too-common … a new Marketing Director comes in and wants to change everything, often for no other reason than they want to make their own mark rather than be seen as simply executing someone else’s plan. That, or they want to make the agency-of-record drop their fee massively so they can look good to their board of directors from day one.
The reason I want to do this challenge is because I genuinely believe the best thing anyone can do for their career is start their own business … and as much as we might all think that when you’re the boss, everyone has to follow your orders, the reality is that success often ends up being less about what you actually do and more about how well you can relate to your clients business, ego and fears and influence your clients business, ego and fears.
With that in mind, this is the assignment.
[For legal reasons, I better say this situation is all fictional and I’m only using it to set a foundation for the assignment]
Imagine you are Martin Sorrell … uber-god of the World’s biggest ad agency network.
Now imagine one of your biggest clients is Fedex … uber-god of logistics.
Anyway, for years you’ve had an amazing and mutually fruitful and successful business relationship … to the point that both companies ensured all brands within their portfolio use each other for their marketing/logistic needs.
Business is up. Profits are good. Work standards are solid.
In fact, they are now one of your biggest clients globally.
Suddenly the client at Fedex leaves to join their main competitor DHL, and in their place comes a young, arrogant accountant with 10 years of logistics management experience.
Rumours are flying that he wants to make major changes. You know he has a massive ego [amplified by the fact he’s only 5 feet in height] … so it’s important for him to be seen as a respected and successful business leader.
A week later, you get a phone call asking you to come meet the new CMO at his office.
You know he is going to announce that he’s putting up the business for pitch. You also know all the competition brands are very happy with their agencies so the chance of picking one of them up if you lose FEDEX is small.
CHALLENGE: What speech/presentation will you give to your new client to ensure they see your partnership as so valuable, they consider cancelling the pitch process and continue working exclusively with you, with no change to remuneration?
Yes, I know it’s open ended and ambiguous … but that’s part of the challenge.
It is also – if you look at it another way – part of the opportunity.
Now the mandatories.
You have 2 ways to respond to this challenge.
1. A letter – as if writing directly to the new Marketing Director.
2. A video – as if speaking directly to the new Marketing Director.
[If you choose the option of the letter, it cannot be more than 1500 words long. If you choose the option of the video, it cannot be more than 7 minutes in duration]
Submissions must be sent to me by May 15th and there will be a ‘prize’ deemed the best argument by the judges.
Don’t get too excited, the prize won’t be too good, but the judges are excellent.
Gareth and Andrew.
John Dodds: Who talks more sense about marketing than 99% of marketeers directors.
Heather LeFevre: Planner, author, creator, doer.
George Whitesides: A very important man at Virgin Galactic
Chris Wong: Advisor for Garage.com Venture Capitalists
David Tiltman: Head of Content at WARC
For the record, it doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced planner, a wannabe-planner or doing something totally different … this is something that is open to all and regardless of your experience and having a go is the first step to making change happen. In addition, while all the judges will be holding everyone to the highest of standards, their feedback will all be constructive, rather than destructive, so whatever the outcome, you will hopefully learn and gain from the experience. That is certainly the intention and goal of everyone behind this.
And with that, I will leave you to get cracking.
Have Fun. Be Sharp. Enjoy.
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