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  • How CMOs Should Select Agencies for Optimal Results


    Colin Wilson-Brown of The Clinic, a sponsor company at the marcus evans CMO Summit 2012, on agency selection.

    Interview with: Colin Wilson-Brown, Founder & Director, The Clinic

    Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) must ensure that the skills of their advertising agency partners match with their most important business needs, says Colin Wilson-Brown, Founder & Director, The Clinic. With the advent of digital marketing and so many specialist skill areas to choose from, agency selection and performance monitoring need a much closer look from CMOs, he adds.

    From a sponsor company at the upcoming marcus evans CMO Summit 2012, in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 26 - 28 September, Wilson-Brown offers his suggestions on selecting advertising agencies and negotiating remuneration for optimal results.

    How can CMOs get more out of advertising agencies?

    They first need to make sure that they have the right structure for agencies. Ten years ago a CMO may have needed three agencies at most, but today CMOs need skills across many different disciplines. They must decide how many agency partners they need, as having multiple agency partners may bring additional skills, but the cost of doing business increases and more time is required to manage those partnerships and get everyone to collaborate with each other.

    What tips for selecting agencies could you give?

    Most CMOs have neither the time nor the up-to-date market knowledge to find the best agency. And they may not know the best selection process.

    I use different methodologies depending on what a client wants to achieve from the partnership. The decision is sometimes made simply by looking at the credentials of the agency, other times it might be a full strategic and creative pitch.

    Also, instead of relying on one big presentation, I may get both parties to work together on a project, to give them a better sense of what it will be like to work together.

    Most agencies are pretty good at selling themselves, but that does not mean they are the right agency for a long-term relationship. The skills of the advertising agency partner must match with the most important business needs.

    How should companies assess their current agencies?

    Most companies regularly and formally review staff performance, but it is surprising how many do not do that with agencies. Formal reviews help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the agency relationship, and highlight opportunities for improvement. We developed a simple and inexpensive online benchmarking tool, which is also useful for managing a performance-based payment structure.

    What advice would you give for negotiating remuneration?

    The most common methodology is to pay agencies for the time they put in, but the ideal way is to pay an agency for the contribution it makes to the business, what it helps the organisation achieve. After all, why should an agency that takes longer to do something get paid more?

    I always advocate having a performance component in the agreement, based on sales performance and the achievement of campaign goals. The agency’s costs should be covered, but it could then have the potential to earn profit according to the strength of its performance.

    Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

    Tel: + 357 22 849 313

    About the CMO Summit 2012

    This unique forum will take place at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 26 - 28 September 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed marketing professionals and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on innovation, fuelling creativity, supercharging the potential of social media and tapping into consumer insights.

    For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at

    marcus evans group – marketing/sales sector portal

    The Marketing Network – marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional trends and breakthrough innovations.




    Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

    About The Clinic

    The Clinic helps advertisers find the best agency partners and optimize agency performance. It has helped over 60 CMOs appoint creative, media, digital, DM, PR, and brand strategy agencies. It has also advised advertisers on agency remuneration, servicing structures and relationship issues.

    The Clinic’s low cost, web enabled benchmarking tool has measured performance of 500 agency/client relationships.

    About marcus evans Summits

    marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

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