Get a good system to improve your communications delivery.

Greatness is hard to achieve in advertising with 84% of ads not getting noticed or remembered, and with creative execution the second biggest driver of market share growth, highly creative ads are 16 times more efficient in achieving this[1]. There is a quintessentially huge difference between the best ads in terms of their ROI.

Whilst the "data" referred to in Tom Roach's article is market share and impact data, effective management of agency's own commercial data has an implicit bearing on these outcomes. Many agencies, small and large, simply don't have the integrated systems or data structures that allows them to fully harness their data and quickly adapt to the variable needs of their clients.

In the now 10th year of our existence, Agency DNA has constantly searched for technology and process solutions that are new, fresh, cloud-based, highly adaptable, able to be seamlessly integrated and are cost effective, with the principle aim of bringing more transparency and clarity to agency commercial operations and financial management.

During the course of this work, we’ve plugged into the prevailing industry dilemma of squaring the circle between fees based on time or percentage allocations of staff, to the pricing and management of work against specific deliverables.

The hurdles for delivering effective marketing communications are many, some technology related; in fairness, most are not. Through the experience of our team, now inclusive of a highly regarded strategic brand marketing director, we've listed some fundamental ones below:

  • Briefs can be too general, and a common language for deliverables is lacking;
  • Agency proposals lack transparency and contain poor links to deliverables;
  • There are capability gaps in brief writing, which can lead to inefficient iterations;
  • Knowledge and learnings are not codified sufficiently well and can be lost, especially with personnel changes;
  • Agency resource plans are often not clear;
  • There is too little cost benchmarking.

For the hurdles that are technology dependent, many agency solutions have been set up to handle one or two things well, yet don’t have the functionality or flexibility to adapt to a wider set of needs or worse, can’t talk to the other systems that are brought in to supplement.

In too many cases, the offline solution is to create and juggle a bunch of spreadsheets.

For deliverables specifically, many ERP’s have job type structures that are set in concrete and time is the primary means of determining revenue. On this basis, the effort to realign data so it can be worked on and analysed on a by-deliverable basis is immense.

With this in mind, we built an application that connects directly to the agency's ERP, and facilitates a job to deliverables data realignment, with composite pricing and resourcing as direct outputs. We can also deliver a full stack solution for those agencies who don’t have confidence in, or who have simply outgrown their current system.

The app is a kind of second-life view of the creative process, an alternative world where pricing of deliverables and effort is determined seamlessly and independently of agency timesheets.  

Combining our expertise with enabling technologies, we can deliver real outcomes for our agency clients, including:

  • Standardised templates and workflows;
  • Clear demonstrations of workloads and deliverables;
  • Faster proposal approval and alignment;
  • Defined deliverables, by type and complexity, with clear pricing;
  • Clearer agency proposals, and visibility over resource allocation and costs;
  • A determination of the appropriate fees for any given output, and a simple mechanism for variations.

Of course it is still up to the agency to deliver the great ads, but why not on a more profitable basis for both them, and their clients.

[1] Source: "Most Marketing is Bad because it Ignores the Most Basic Data", BBH Labs, December 2017 (

Chris Lever, Founder

20+ years experience in professional services.  Former Finance Director of WCRS (now The Engine Group) and BLM (now Arena Media), two of the UK's most successful independent advertising and media agencies, assisting WCRS through its 2004 MBO and BLM through a trade sale in 2008.  Whilst the transactions featured heavily in these roles, a key personal driver was a determination to promote finance functions with people and systems capable of handling the change and growth these groups faced under their new ownership structures.  An Australian CPA, Chris is an all-sports enthusiast, although participation is generally now limited to pedaling a road bike.