Part 1 of 2: Transparency in the Bidding Process for Creative Production
The need for value, transparency and new content creation models is making way for a new mindset and unrealized potential in a marketer’s business processes that have gone undeveloped due to the complacency inherent in settling for the status quo – “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” For decades, the advertising industry has enjoyed a comfortable status quo around the sourcing of production through the bidding process traditionally led by creative agencies. Like in many industries, present circumstances are making room for change and disruption due to technology, data, an explosion of new media, and new types of production solutions. This disruption, though intimidating for some traditionalists in the advertising industry, is a once in an era opportunity to shift the narrative around how to procure and produce content.
Since the 1970’s, a core competency of creative agencies has been to coordinate and manage the creative execution of TV commercials, events, photography and other creative projects to ensure the highest quality and timely delivery of the ads or event, on behalf of the marketers. The creative agencies owned the relationships with production vendors, contracted, and paid the vendors on behalf of their clients. Many client/agency partnerships still accept this as the process they follow today, however, there are also many marketers exploring partnerships outside of the traditional client/agency relationships and taking a good look at doing things differently.
Today, the best path for producing content doesn’t necessarily come from the creative agency who developed the idea. This is due in large part to:
1. Competing agendas. Navigating production options has always been an agency role, however, since creative agencies have thrown their hats in the ring and taken production in-house, the dynamics have changed, as they now have a self-serving interest in who produces the content;
2. An industry wide focus on transparency, agencies can no longer oversee the bidding process in an impartial manner when they want to be one of the bidders (being both the referee and a player)
3. A lack of investment in professional development. Traditional ad agency executives are aging out and new agency producers are learning on the job. The freelancers don’t get the training to effectively evaluate the landscape or research appropriate vendors because they’re moving from one project to another and repeating their process over and over again.
So, how does this translate and affect the creative process for marketers? Navigating, negotiating and procuring creative production can no longer be entrusted to a traditional agency IF they throw their hat into the ring to produce content.
Navigating the new normal. Great storytelling and copywriting is an art. These things require time and the best talent. Brand relationships with creative agencies have changed and a marketer can no longer get all their creative needs met by one creative partner. In today’s environment, choices are critical.
It’s time to break the traditional silos and models. Many creative partners and specialty production vendors (from storytelling to experiences to ecommerce) can provide the modern marketer with flexibility and a “creative candy jar,” so to speak, to realize their potential across all marketing channels, which are now integrated.
Creative flexibility needs infrastructure. We know businesses can’t compete without infrastructure and integration of all messaging affects the way we produce content, share assets, and negotiate rights. In an integrated marketing world, choices, collaboration, and centralization of marketing operations is needed to provide the infrastructure and support needed to have flexible, creative options.
Consider that marketing ecosystems can be made up of many pieces of a puzzle, many players, and many wonderful, creative resources. From an execution standpoint, it is essential to centrally coordinate production of assets using multiple production vendors and negotiate the rights and talent piece upfront allowing for broad and flexible rights.
We can see a world in the very near future (and for some advertisers, this is already happening), where in order to allow the creative agencies to pitch for the creative AND for client in-house teams to also pitch for the work, the competitive bidding process is managed by the marketer or objective third-party to get better choices, prices, and transparency for their content productions and brand experiences. Advertisers with strategies to achieve this will win.
Coming soon: A perspective on bid management tools in the video production process.