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Jamie Leonard

I can understand where all parties are coming from, more from the media side as that’s my background. I am surprised there are not more comments on this issue from the media, my only thought is that this is such a hot potato any comments may come across in the wrong way and cost them business moving forward. But heaven forbid that ever stopped me before. Not to long ago one of my sales guys pitched an agency, provided a fantastic argument and fully responded to the brief, a really good job. A few weeks later and he was told the client was not interested as they looked at 3 proposals, only had budget for one and went with another job board. Fine, it happens, pick yourself up and go again. A week after by chance one of our direct telesales reps called the contact at the same client. The telesales rep was told that the client did request a Fish4 proposal through their agency a few weeks ago and the agency told them that we (Fish4) had never got back to the agency, which was a complete lie.

Now I’ve worked with ad agencies for 7 years now (god that makes me feel old) and this has happened before on several occasions with several agencies and its these situations that put a question mark over whether a media can survive let alone grow if the agency control the sale and the close of the majority of its business.

I fully understand this is not the norm by any stretch of the imagination but I’m willing to bet it happens as much as the media undercutting themselves at the detriment of the agency.



You raise a really good point there Jamie - and I guess one that we were hoping to debate via the original discussion.

Absolutely correct - that sort of thing is poor. And, I guess, does appear to happen often (from your response).

Totally agree that the direct model is a must for media - it really is. I think, going back to the original post, the point for discussion was that all we ask for is a level playing field.

And don't get me wrong here, in the MAJORITY of cases, and with the MAJORITY of organisations we work alongside, this is very rarely an issue, but it is hellishly frustrating when, as you are singing the song of 'no, this is the best deal they will offer - we've pushed back and discussed this with our contacts at XYZ publication', someone unrelated speaks direct to your client, or a colleague of your client, and goes in with a much higher value/lower cost package. This leaves us in a totally compromised position. And does happen.

We want to bang the drum of appreciating the value of the products we're offered, it's just sometimes a struggle when we are told one thing by one person, but that rule does not really apply to direct sales.

I don't think we're ever going to come up with a solution to this - because, as you point out Jamie, your business cannot possibly survive on generating its income purely via agencies - and, to be honest, I don't think we want that. We just want to feel confident that what we are being told (in terms of pricing and inventory allocation) is consistent with what would be sold in direct. Otherwise, we just look stupid - for trusting and going with what we have been told.

Just want to stress again - there is no finger pointing here - no naming names - that's not the purpose of this blog - we just want to stimulate debate and share the opinions of key figures within our industry.

Cheers for providing some feedback from a media perspective within the blog big fella - nice one.

Jamie Leonard

Fully agree that as a media we should not be quoting different prices and I think as a media we need to look at ourselves. The two main reasons these situations happen are a) simply not using the CRM systems properly which is just human error or b) the pressure companies put on their sales people to hit targets and bill money.

And there is no bigger pressure on reps than in the online market. The press is in decline, that’s just fact. Revenues are down, circulations are down and in turn the targets and expectations are down. A lot of media look at online as a land grab at the moment and the method is to hike up targets, churn sales people and secure as much of the market as possible. This in turn creates a culture of “win at any cost”, including devaluing the product and some times cutting out the agency to speed the up the process, and in my opinion this is a very short term, counter productive strategy.

I know these types of companies well and the shelf life on the sales people are very short and they drive a culture of motivation by fear. This is why these situations occur and they will only reduce when these companies reduce the pressure on the sales people. But then how do you build a company in what is a massively competitive market anyway?

It’s a balancing act and I don’t think we are going to get there until the dust has settled and there is some real maturity in the market.

And I disagree with your point that no media can survive with agencies alone, look at the press market. I’m sure if you ask The Times, Northcliffe etc. where their recruitment revenue comes from, Im sure agency spend would be between 85 and 90%. Again, it goes back to the maturity of the market and the media owners.

Quick note just to say this blog is a great idea, it gives everyone a voice and although not many media reps post comments I know that most of the industry are reading it on a regular basis. Keep it going guys.


Isn't it funny how sometimes timing can just be so right?

It's always good / interesting to look outside of our small world and observe people who are just that little bit further ahead than modest little us - and I think this article by Harry Gold points out that there is indeed a grown up world which we can strive towards - "Keep your media reps close" http://newsletters.clickz.com/c.html?rtr=on&s=auxa,2ar4,52v,2f0u,bpyx,6r83,crce. (I'll also recommend the article he’s written entitled "2D vs 3D campaigns" – you’ll see the link at the bottom of the above article.)

And Jamie & Andrew (original post) - thanks. Thanks for getting it, contributing to the conversation and having exactly the kind of mindset which I, and I'm sure my DigitalRecruiting peers too, look forward to building long and fruitful relationships with. Here’s to our (and Harry’s) version of the future.


Kork Desai

Great to see these topics are being aired out in the open.

It all boils down to a matter of trust, if Ad agencies can live with the media talking to their clients with out doing the dirty, and that the media talk to the client but are fully aware that all conversations need to involve the Ad agency then the instances noted in the previous comments will become more infrequent.

I'm pretty sure this system can work, we all just need to give it a try!

love you all


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