Nine steps to identifying an agency set-up that fits your organisation’s needs
From strategy and planning to measurement, here are some steps each organisation should take to adopt an agency rosters model that best suits its needs
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Barely a week goes by without reports that a big client has undertaken some form of major roster re-organisation. And this probably shouldn't surprise us.
With substantial investments being made in digital transformation, understanding the customer journey and the increasing blurring of lines within the marcomms tool-box, many clients are looking at their current structures, ways of working and associated costs. The conclusion that many come to is that there has to be a better way of delivering their communications needs.
Recent WFA and The Observatory International research confirmed that roster re-organisation is needed within 74% of client organisations. The research also showed that as both clients and agencies are grappling with the same rapidly changing landscape, there is no magic bullet or one size fits all solution.
This topic was most recently discussed at our WFA Forum in Mumbai in April and our CMO Forum in Cannes in June.
To help clients adapt, Lucinda Peniston-Baines, Co-founder and Managing Partner at The Observatory International, shared nine steps to help advertisers develop the right roster model for their organisation:
Structure must follow strategy. So, be clear on the strategy you are delivering to, and have a vision of your ideal outcome. Don’t wed yourself to a detailed model – just have a number of scenarios in mind. Don’t worry about practicalities at this stage. Simply ensure that your vision is rooted in the business needs of the organisation and what might be expected of the marketing organisation in the future.
Engage with your stakeholders. Make sure you fully understand their specific needs, both now and in the future, and whether these are relevant to your vision. Understand how the various elements of your organisation are working with your agencies and identify any internal behaviours/ organisational blocks. Understand what’s working well, what isn’t and why. And make sure that this relates to the day-to-day as much as the big picture. Engage with the procurement team at an early stage to enable you to get an accurate fix on your current agency costs.
Pull together those findings and look for the common strands – both positive and negative – and map them against your vision. There will be significant gaps – but it’s a sense-check to find out how difficult it might be to move quickly from the current to the ideal. Identify any absolute must haves and if necessary modify the vision to accommodate.
Sense-check the vision. Re-involve Procurement and analyse current agency costs and identify areas of expenditure duplication that can be eliminated in the new model. Share findings of your analysis and review them with stakeholders to make sure they are on board. Demonstrate the ‘As is’ state and the ‘To be’ goal and its benefits. Agree go/no go at the highest level.
5. The Model
Review roster models and decide which might be most appropriate for your organisational structure and your needs and deliverables. Remember, whilst there are core models in use, these are infinitely variable and it may be that your organisation needs a hybrid. Develop the model together with a Way of Working (WoW) methodology that assigns clearly defined roles and responsibilities at every level of Marketing management. Cross-check to make sure the model you have in mind is capable of delivering the strategy and vision. Again, get this signed of at the highest level.
6. Populating the Model
Identify the agency types that can best populate your model and desired WoW/engagement – Best in Class specialists, Lead Agency +, Integrated Grouping, Network, Holding Company etc… Assess what agency types you currently have in place, what is missing and what you might deliver in-house
Develop a plan to move you from where you currently are within the organisation, to your vision. Develop the workstreams and allow sufficient time for them to be delivered. Phase them to match your resource to deliver. Be realistic about how much time it may take to deliver real change.
8. Change Management
This may take the form of new responsibilities, Ways of Working and remuneration approaches within the existing agency roster (and your own marketing organisation) and/or the sourcing of new partners to fill gaps or upskill in areas of strategic importance. There will no doubt be multiple workstreams and it is important to prioritise these and allocate resource to activate those with highest impact.
Any new roster model must be monitored and measured on how well it is delivering against key KPIs, whether those be improvements in quality, speed, value, integrated outcomes or customer engagement. Ensure that the right measures are in place and that issues are spotted early and that learnings and best practice are shared and celebrated.
For more information on what has been discussed at recent WFA Forum meetings on this topic, please contact Julia Kraft.
If you would like to find out more about The Observatory International and their work around agency rosters/partnerships, get in touch with Lucinda Peniston-Baines.