VoxComm is the new global voice for agencies, championing the value that agencies bring to their clients as turbo boosters for growth.
We stand for the power of commercial creativity in all its forms – across strategy, ideas, content and media – as a proven lever for growth that businesses neglect at their peril.→ Read More
We stand for creativity at the heart of the application of data and new technologies, not as an afterthought – agencies and clients should be running towards creativity, not away from it.→ Read More
We stand for agencies as indispensable business partners, bringing outside perspective, cross-category insights, provocation and a breadth of specialist expertise to their clients.→ Read More
We stand for partnership, new agency models, and creating an environment where agencies can flourish, and clients can benefit from the unique business value agencies can deliver.→ Read More
We stand for better ways to procure and compensate the kind of added value, talent-based services agencies offer, and will work with agencies and clients to deliver these.→ Read More
We will promote good practice, but speak out where we see bad practice, value-destroying behaviours to the ultimate disbenefit of our clients, as well as agencies.→ Read More
And we will do this together, as a global partnership, sharing our resources and best ideas, because the challenges to the unique business value that agencies can deliver are the same everywhere, in every market and region, on local assignments and international ones.→ Read More
We believe that agencies and the commercial creativity they deliver are turbo boosters for growth – business that are looking for top-line growth neglect the creative multiplier at their peril.
The agency business globally faces transformational challenges in adapting to rapid and continuous change driven by technology.
Agencies are not alone in facing these challenges, our clients and their marketing, sales and operating functions are also struggling to figure out how to engage with consumers, grow their businesses and build their brands in a fast-changing environment. But agencies face particular challenges – with the rise of procurement and the impact of short-termism, marketers sometimes minimize their relationships or engagements with agencies, viewing marketing as business costs rather than long-term investments.
It risks becoming a toxic, value-destroying environment for agencies, with the unintended consequence of killing the conditions for creativity and undermining the value that clients more than ever need agencies to deliver.
Agencies and the commercial creativity they deliver remain a powerful and proven lever for growth – alternative marketing solutions that minimize the role of agencies may contribute to efficiency and productivity but are rarely true alternatives in terms of delivering top-line growth.
Business growth is linked to creativity and innovation that comes from external partnerships. Agencies bring outside perspective, provocation, and breadth of expertise to provide the creativity multiplier effect that boosts growth.
Agencies are indispensable business partners, armed with foresight, creativity, and the ability to develop brilliant solutions that create brand value, engage consumers and expand their communities, and help transform the industry.
Agencies’ experience working across categories gives them a clear, objective view on the future and the big picture and can identify new business opportunities for their clients.
When brands and agencies come together in a trusted partnership, the rewards and opportunity for both parties can be limitless.
Leading in the quantum age of marketing requires a partnership invested in the future to ensure businesses survive and thrive.
96% of marketers in a recent Adweek survey said creativity was a primary benefit they got from working with agencies. Other primary benefits marketers cited include strategy and innovative ideas (79%), as well as experience, marketing efficiency and consumer insight (percentages unspecified in source but all around 60%).
We believe that new technologies and the possibilities created by data are a new battlefield for commercial creativity, not an alternative to it.
Technology and data are changing the world, bringing many new alternatives for businesses and consumers. Embracing this is not optional, it’s a business essential. But with the power of technology and data being sold hard, they risk being treated as alternatives to creativity – and the agencies that deliver it – rather than a new battlefield and vehicle for it.
Agencies that fully embrace the new possibilities opened up by technology and data have an ever more important role for their clients, both in delivering creativity, brand and human insight that will help maximise their benefits and in avoiding their unintentional negatives: translating innovation into sustainable competitive advantage; as a counterbalance to short-termism at the expense of the creating long-term brand meaning, and ensuring that automation is not at the expense of human connection and respect for consumers.
Technology and data present new opportunities – and needs – for commercial creativity. Businesses need creativity to maximise the potential benefits they bring and deliver sustainable competitive advantage and brand value over and above that delivered by technology and data alone.
We stand for creativity and technology, not creativity or technology.
We stand for data as a creative opportunity and enhancer, not an alternative.
We stand for technology and data deployed to build long-term business and brand value – and against technology and data being used as an unconscious pretext for value-killing short-termism, consumer relationship-killing tactics, and other value-destroying behaviours.
Technology and data should enhance people’s lives, and the value of businesses and brands that deploy it, to create ever stronger human connections.
Businesses increasingly face the prospect of competing in a world of comparison and aggregation platforms, consumer search, consumer reviews, rapidly growing private label, direct-to-consumer business models, in which Amazon sells everything. Doing that without a strong brand at their disposal should send a chill down the back of any marketer’s spine.
The brand stewardship and commercial creativity in its broadest sense that agencies help deliver for their clients will be ever more important as the ways that businesses interact with consumers change and proliferate. Technology and data should help businesses build brands, not (albeit) unintentionally degrade them. Brand are built on human connection and meaning, and that meaning needs to be created and managed.
We believe that there are better ways to procure and compensate the kind of added value, talent-based services agencies offer, and will work with agencies and clients to deliver these.
The way that many clients procure and compensate agency services risks creating unsustainable relationships and undermining agencies abilities to do what they do best, to the ultimate disbenefit of client’s business.
The traditional price-based Request for Proposal (RFP) process has long been recognized by agencies and other professional services firms (from architecture to IT to management consulting) and leaders in the procurement community, as a race to the bottom that serves neither the interests of the agency nor the client.
There is currently often a disconnect between the way clients deal with agencies and their approach to other added value, talent-based services (and indeed how they hire and remunerate their own top talent). Which is why we are advancing better, well-proven ways of procuring and compensating agencies, such as Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS), currently being piloted in Canada by the ICA.
Hiring an agency is a very important event for many organizations. Agency fees can be substantial, the spending agencies direct is usually significant, and the impact of the agency’s work on the bottom line of the client is often direct and critical. It is reasonable to suggest that the selection process used to identify the agency that will drive the greatest value for the client should be equally important.
Along with identifying the best agency, the process should be fair, transparent, efficient and provide a tangible method for quantifying the value and relevance of intangible expertise. The decision should be made methodically based on best-practices used to purchase professional services that are often difficult to evaluate because they are intangible, custom, complex, and costly.
The RFP process, whether explicitly or implicitly driven by price, is not fit for purpose for talent-based value-adding services such as agencies at their best deliver, and the great majority of clients expect. Their organisation would not recruit their own top talent on this basis, or indeed other key professional advisers.
To that end, Qualifications-Based Selection was developed – by client organizations – many decades ago to overcome the shortcomings of the price-based RFP. This process will be of interest to clients that recognize that choosing to work with the most appropriately qualified agency at a fair price, will always be better than working with the least qualified agency at a low price, and that collaboration trumps adversarial relationships every day.
QBS benefits clients and agencies by creating a sustainable business and partnership environment, focused on quality and value added. Several studies have proven that when compared to a typical price-based Request for Proposal (RFP) process, QBS provides a quicker and lower cost procurement process, that delivers higher quality solutions with fewer schedule and budget overages, greater innovation, long-term solutions instead of short-term thinking, and lower long-term costs.
We will promote good practice, but speak out where we see bad practice, value-destroying behaviours to the ultimate disbenefit of our clients, as well as agencies.
In a period of disruptive change, new possibilities and opportunities abound, there is a lot of experimentation with new ways of doing things and a lot to learn from. There are a lot of new prescriptions for how to do things better, there is a lot of advice, some self-interested, some good, some bad. New success models are emerging in some areas, but also a lot of innovations that don’t deliver their promise – and many organizations of not as good as Google in living up to the ‘fail fast’ dictum in killing failures.
In this context, there are emerging new success models in the way that agencies and clients work together to deliver growth and efficiencies, and also in the way that clients procure and engage agencies. There are also new models that don’t deliver sustainable value and growth, as well as bad practice more broadly. We will shine a light on both.
We will promote case studies showcasing new agency/ client success models.
We are consolidating VoxComm Positive pitch guidelines.
We are promoting a shift from price-driven RFPs to value-driven QBS.
We recognise the Top Advertisers, as rated by agency professionals in terms of positive agency relationships leading to added value for their businesses.
We will expand our ‘Pitch Watch’ monitoring, calling out bad practice locally and globally.
We will shine a light on the realities and hidden costs of alternatives to agency services such as in-housing, frequently short-lived and failing to deliver in terms of either effectiveness or efficiency.
Director General, EACA,
Director General, IPA,
CEO, Advertising Council, Australia
President & CEO, 4A’s,
President & CEO, ICA,
Pitch Watch is our confidential service that enables agencies to report both negative and positive experiences with client pitches and throughout a client relationship.
Pitch Watch provides a safe space to talk about good and bad cases of client practice in pitching. For the past four years it has already proved successful in improving pitch processes in Canada via the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA). The ICA has supported the Canadian agency sector, as a collective industry voice, in almost 100 cases. From local, to national and international brand reviews, including the likes of Airmiles, Canada Post, JTI, TD Bank and YMCA. They have also consulted with the Canadian Government.
Pitch Watch was launched after listening to the concerns of agencies across Canada and beyond. VoxComm is now supporting this globally.
Agencies have the option to provide information via the emails below. Alternatively, contact your local association and they will connect with Scott.
President & CEO, ICA, Canada
The RFP selection process, for all types of clients, brands and agencies, is flawed. That’s why we’re pushing “to retire the RFP" from global business practice.
And we’ve got a firm plan for what should replace it. Our QBS Agency Search Guide focuses on QBS (Qualification-Based Selection), a process that will ultimately help client organizations to buy creative services that are critical, complex, and customized.
We’ve focused the rationale and arguments for using the QBS methodology around efficiencies for clients and delivering greater levels of effectiveness. It’s a simple process to implement and manage, and should prove highly effective at identifying the right partner.
The guide is available free of charge to marketers and procurement people and covers the following areas in detail. Please email Scott Knox in order to receive it.
President & CEO, ICA, Canada
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