A new guide for advertisers on how to work successfully with media agencies has been launched by the ISBA in partnership with consultancy ID Comms.

ISBA, which represents more than 3,000 advertisers in the UK, says the guide identifies current practices based on feedback from members and highlights opportunities for improvement.

“Best Practice in Media Agency Management Guidelines” suggests six key areas where advertisers need to act to ensure they get the best value and results from media agency partners.

Brands need to: 

Align everything internally – ensure all those involved have one ambition for media, alongside clear ways of working to support smooth media management and delivery. Just 38% of ISBA members currently agree they have a clear vision for media that aligns internal and external stakeholders.

Select the right partners – a clear process needs to be followed to identify the right agency to work with. Some 76% of ISBA members say they follow a rigorous and well-defined process for agency selection. 

Have clarity through contracts – transparent and fair contractual terms make for a long-lasting and trustworthy relationship. Only 42% of ISBA members say they have clear visibility on agency overheads and margins, while 84% say they have robust contract clauses regarding rebates and unbilled media.

Inspire through remuneration – use payment terms that motivate agencies to deliver their best work – of those ISBA members surveyed, 50% said they used a payment model based on labour, 15% on a commission-based model, but none said they used an outcome or value-based model. Around 25% said they used a hybrid model with 70% saying they included some kind of bonus.

Offer smart briefings and clear evaluation – strategies and objectives need to be clearly communicated, and combined with smart and constructive interpretation of agency strategies and plans. 

Work on the relationship – this includes transparent and consistent performance management that drives continuous improvement. Currently, 76% of ISBA members conduct some form of agency buying and service evaluation on a six-monthly basis, researchers found. 

“The art of working with and managing media agencies is ever more important,” said Andrew Lowdon, Director of Agency Services at ISBA, and added that the overall aim of the guide was to “demystify the core areas that make a difference and ensure that media becomes a source of real value that can be actively managed”.

David Indo, CEO, Advisory at ID Comms, said, “There is a direct correlation between good media management behaviours and return on media investment and the ability to secure competitive advantage.”

Sourced from ISBA