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 Current Situation
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
The Current Situation
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 Current Situation
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.
The Current Situation
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
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.
Your QBS/Pitch Watch contact
Pitch Watch is our confidential service that enables agencies
to report both negative and positive experiences with client pitches and throughout a
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.
Your Pitch Watch contact
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.
Your QBS contact
President & CEO, ICA, Canada
Between June 21st and July 31st 2021, VoxComm took part in the first-ever global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) census in the marketing and advertising world, meant to assess where the industry is in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion and to analyze the people’s perception of D&I in their own workplace.
Working alongside WFA, Campaign, Kantar, EACA and national advertiser associations, as well as their agency counterparts, the goal was to generate the largest and most representative sample possible.
The initiative built on work already carried out in the UK as part of the All In Initiative with the aim of establishing a tangible baseline for the global industry. The participating markets in this census were Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Greece, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), Hong Kong (SAR), China, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and USA.
Tamara Daltroff, President, VoxComm, said: “Agencies and agency associations already have their own census in place to monitor and drive change but complementing this existing research will provide us with a wider, cross-cultural view on diversity, equity and inclusion- enabling us to continue bridging the gaps in our industry. We are aiming to drive improvement together, for the benefit of our industry now and in the future. I want to express my special thanks to every participant; getting standardised data across the globe will equip us with a global industry baseline for the first time.”
News and Events
New international coalition of agency associations calls for more equitable payment terms
A coalition of 11 agency associations from around the world, including Canada’s Institute of Communication Agencies, has come together to create a “new global voice for agencies,” and has identified payment terms as one of its first priorities.Read Full Article
VoxComm opens doors with plan to fuel growth for business
VoxComm, the new global voice for agencies, is launching with a manifesto to champion the value that the sector delivers to clients. The trade body which is now a fully formed idea with articles, a governance model, regular Board and quarterly members meetings in place. It currently counts 36 national trade associations from around the globe as members and headed by the newly appointed President Tamara Daltroff, the Director General, EACA, Europe. VoxComm’s board members are Marla Kaplowitz President & CEO, of US body 4A’s, Mario D’Andrea, President of Brazil’s ABAP, Paul Bainsfair, Director General of the UK’s IPA, Tony Hale, CEO of the Advertising Council, Australia, and Scott Knox, President and CEO of the ICA in Canada.Read the press release here >>>
Decision Marketing/United Kingdom
UK joins global fight over ‘bully-boy’ late paying clients
UK agency body the IPA has joined a global alliance – which also includes the American Association of Advertising Agencies – in exposing the hypocrisy of many client companies, who big up their own “corporate social responsibility” record yet use bullying tactics to force agencies into longer payment terms, leaving them struggling to pay staff and freelancers.Read Full Article
Marketing Interactive/Asia & Malaysia
Global ad agency alliance: ‘Late payment is not smart, it’s irresponsible’
VoxComm, an alliance between advertising agency associations including Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As Malaysia), Association of American Advertising Agencies (4As), European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA), and Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), has called out late payment by advertisers as "irresponsible".Read Full Article
Campaign Asia/Asia & Malaysia
Global agencies unite to challenge bullying clients and crippling payment terms
VoxComm brings together agency trade bodies from around the world, including the outspoken Association of Accredited Advertising Agents in Malaysia, the IPA in the UK and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, to champion the value of agencies and fight against bad client behaviour.Read Full Article
Smart Brief/United States
4A ’s joins global coalition VoxComm to fight payment terms
VoxComm, a new international coalition of 11 agency trade groups including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, is championing the value of agencies and working to address unfair payment terms.Read Full Article
4A’s Joins Coalition With Other Trade Bodies to Tackle Late Payment Issue
In a statement announcing the formation of VoxComm, its organizers criticized companies that claim to be “socially responsible” yet put off payment to agencies, which often puts the latter in a bind.Read Full Article
Video Ad News/United Kingdom
Top Stories: Agencies Unite to Call Out Late Payments
An alliance of agency trade associations, called VoxComm, claimed that a number of advertisers are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for delaying payments to their agencies, and called on those advertisers to mend their ways.Read Full Article
Late Payment. It’s Not Smart. It’s Irresponsible: The Communications Council Ceo Tony Hale Issues Statement On Ad Agency Payment Terms
VoxComm, the new global voice for agencies, has released an announcement on behalf of multiple agency associations regarding advertising agency payment terms.Read Full Article
Advertising agencies call out brands delaying payment
Advertising agencies report an outbreak of brands, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, demanding delayed payment terms with new contracts.Read Full Article
The Communications Council condemns the use of COVID-19 as excuse for clients to extend payment terms
Advertising body The Communications Council has condemned the rising trend of clients extending payment terms for agency services during the COVID-19 pandemic.Read Full Article
Large Conglomerates Feel The Late Payments Pain
In a statement, VoxComm said, "We are hearing from our members all around the world that many of those same ‘corporately responsible’ companies are using the [Covid-19] crisis to delay paying their agencies. Late payment is a pernicious habit that even cash-rich companies employ to falsely enhance their liquidity ratios. It is directly at odds with their avowed policy of CSR."Read Full Article
How should agencies respond to ‘bullying’ clients over payment terms?
VoxComm, a global coalition of agency trade bodies, said agencies were in effect being asked to act as banks for clients.Read Full Article
Las asociaciones de agencias del mundo se unen y lanzan su primera queja: el retraso en los pagos por parte de los clients
The new entity – Voxcomm – released a statement, in which it accuses the world's big advertisers of investing billions in social responsibility, but not respecting the payment dates to providers such as agencies.Read Full Article
LLB Online/United Kingdom
How the World’s Agencies Are Raising Their Voice with VoxComm
VoxComm marks the coming together of the ad industry’s most passionate champions from around the globe, the local industry associations. At the helm are the 4As’ Marla Kapowitz (USA), EACA’s Tamara Daltroff (Europe), the ICA’s Scott Knox (Canada) and the IPA’s Paul Bainsfair (UK). In their sights, late payment and poor pitch practices.Read Full Article
The Star/Asia & Malaysia
VoxComm: Companies using Covid-19 as excuse to delay payment
Companies around the globe are using the Covid-19 pandemic crisis to delay paying their agencies, according to VoxComm.Read Full Article
Agencijske organizacije diljem svijeta ujedinjene u stavu: „Late Payment. It’s not smart. It’s irresponsible.“
VOXCOMM, a new global agency voice that promotes commercial creativity in all its forms, stressed in a new statement the importance of fair payment terms that ensure a positive and healthy relationship between agencies and clients.Read Full Article
‘The money is just not showing up’: Digital media companies are likely to wait even longer for payments
VoxComm — an alliance between global advertiser trade bodies including the 4A’s, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in the U.K. and the European Association of Communication Agencies — released a statement calling out companies that “bully agencies into longer payment terms or just flagrantly flout contractual payment terms,” amid the coronavirus crisis.Read Full Article
VoxComm joins forces with WFA to launch the 1st ever global DEI census in the industry
Mark your calendars: between June 21st and July 2nd, WFA together with VoxComm will be running the first-ever global census of the marketing and advertising world, meant to assess where the industry is in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion and to analyze the people’s perception of D&I in their own workplace. VoxComm is thrilled to be part of this massive effort together with Kantar, the research partner and Campaign, the media counterpart. We will be actively encouraging our members to spread the word and help us create a global industry baseline – for the first time in history!Read the full press release here >>>
DEI Global Census
Global DEI Census: Preliminary Results Are Out!
Initial results from the first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Census of the global marketing industry have identified key challenges around family status, age and gender as well as ethnicity and disability. The results are based on more than 10,000 responses from 27 markets around the world conducted in June to July 2021 with the online survey identifying not just the demographics of participants but also their sense of belonging, experience of discrimination and demeaning behaviour. The Census found clear gaps in lived experience when these groups were compared to the industry average, both in individual markets and globally. For example, on Kantar’s Inclusion Index, which is generated by asking questions about people’s sense of belonging, the absence of discrimination and presence of negative behaviour, men scored at 69% compared to women at 61%. Despite these serious concerns, the marketing sector still outperformed every other category that has been analysed by research partner Kantar, scoring an overall 64% on the Inclusion Index, ahead of the next highest sector, Health and Pharmaceuticals on 60%. “There is only one limitation to sustainable growth: Talent. If we want to be an attractive industry to thrive in, we must listen, acknowledge, and act upon the problems of those who are at the heart of the advertising & comms world. With this first-ever industry ambition in the shape of the Global DEI Census, we now know exactly where the issues lie and, at the same time, we are presented with an opportunity to overcome the biggest challenges. It was wonderful to see the industry so united around such an important topic! A very special thank you to the ones who participated & spread the word – and to the ones who are now listening,” said Tamara Daltroff, President, VoxComm.Read the press release >>>