We talk to Kim Walker about April 21

27 March 2015

(Marketingmagazine.com.my) - 

Kim Walker is Founder & Chairman, Aprais Worldwide - the world’s leading business consultancy that helps companies improve the productivity of their relationships, particularly among ad agencies and clients. On April 21 he will join 20 other speakers and panelists at the 4th Malaysian Media Conference on April 21 in KL. We ask him about his topic:

How Marketers get the best from Creative and Media agencies! In your experience what are the major causes relationships between marketers (clients) and agencies break down? 

Our experience suggests that the fundamental problem boils down to communication. This applies in both directions. This is driven by

i) lack of Client openness and humility and…

ii) fear amongst Agencies to ‘rock the boat’ with the Client and say what needs to be said.

Aprais was created to try to overcome these issues. Our principle tenets include

1) The need for senior and junior people involved in the relationship to be able to register their ‘score’ and opinion without the risk of incrimination.

2) To conduct the evaluation regularly (every six months) to address issues before they become account-threatening problems.

3) To conduct the evaluation in a fair and honest way with the ultimate goal being an improvement in productivity for both sides. For this reason, Aprais does not get involved in agency reviews or selection. To encourage joint ‘ownership’ we also strongly recommend the agency and client share the costs involved.

Is it any different whether it is a media agency or creative agency in this case?

We also manage digital agencies, research, PR and a host of other marcom specialist businesses and find that in terms of relationship issues, there’s not much difference. Reason being is we’re talking about human interaction regardless of the nature of business. However, some agencies (such as media buying) are more directly accountable through analytics which can tend to remove the emphasis on purely subjective evaluations of participants.

Can you give a teaser about what you are going to talk about?

I aim to demonstrate (with 99.99% statistical accuracy) that client-agency relationships become more productive when properly managed in a fair, open and un-biased way. ‘Master-servant’ style relationships are as unhealthy in business as they are in marriage. A regular, systematic, data-driven approach to measuring and managing the Client-Agency relationship can lead to actionable insight that drives continuous and meaningful optimization of performance of both parties. This also minimizes the costly and often counter-productive pitch cycle.

Are there any factors that are peculiar only to Malaysia when to comes to client-agency relationships?

Clients and Agencies in Asia and Europe tend to be more demanding and thus aggressive with their scoring when compared to their counterparts in the Americas. You need to be much better in Asia to get a high score than you would need to be in the USA.

Tell us an anecdotal story on how an agency saved its relationship with the client, without mentioning names...

We have many examples. Some in which regional and global accounts have been saved from going into review without the knowledge of the agencies) concerned. Here’s a specific case from the USA… A leading agency was in a bad place with its major telco client. Another team in the same agency could see the difficult situation they were in and had already benefitted from an Aprais-managed relationship for over 5 years with their major global bank client. Aprais was subsequently introduced to the telco client. As a result of the first year’s evaluation, Aprais process has been rolled out by the client across other agency relationships and is now set for international adoption. Another example is where a global FMCG looked harshly on poor scores its global agency received until Aprais was able to demonstrate with its data, that other clients of the same agency collectively gave them a far better score on the same criteria. This exposed irrefutable weaknesses in the client organization, which would be too sensitive for an agency to raise. 


To sign up for the 4th Malaysian Media Conference on April 21,

email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or download PDF here.



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