This summer I was pleased to attend the Advertising Marketing International Network Management Conference in Montreux, Switzerland.  These are smart agency owners from around the globe who come together once a year non-competitively and share knowledge and experiences—the good, the bad and the ugly.

Beppe URSO, EVP, Global Director Client Compensation and Strategic Sourcing, Leo Burnett provided one of the presentations on our program.  Beppe’s topic was “How To Establish A Successful Relationship With Procurement,” or translated another way—how to assure you are providing meaningful value to your clients.

Image source: Shutterstock

Toward the end of his talk, Mr. URSO put up a scorecard slide that summarized his model for value— a three-legged stool for self-evaluation.

  • Leg # 1—Delivery and Process.  How are we doing as an agency in managing the business requirements of our relationship?  Are we defining clearly our scope of work with our clients on the front-end and managing expectation?  Are our processes for getting the work done designed for timeliness and quality? And are we measuring our performance using critical KPI’s like timing, transparency and quality.
  • Leg # 2—Competencies and Knowledge.  This leg of the stool reminds us that how clients think about competency from an agency is multi-dimensional.   Do we understand their business, market dynamics and consumer targets?  Are we able to deliver strategic thinking, along with the technical and production skills required for execution?  Do we communicate openly, timely, and accurately?  And do we have the knowledge base and resources to change and evolve with our clients?
  • Leg #3—Relationship Management.  The third and probably most important leg of our stool is managing the relationship.  Today’s agencies have to understand collaboration and how to work as a team among themselves and with our clients.  We have to have the ability to challenge each other’s thinking, to listen to others’ thoughts, and to be committed to doing our part to build a successful relationship—meeting-to-meeting, day-to-day.    Aligning values is important, too, and helps assure there is trust and respect at the base of everything we do together.  And last, but certainly not least, a clearly defined compensation model that fits our clients’ business requirements and is in line with marketplace pricing is imperative.

I’ll bet if we interviewed AMIN agency clients from Montreux to Minnesota, the principals Beppe outlined for us would be universal.  Now all we have to do here at Stone Ward is make sure we’re delivering– and keeping that stool firmly upright.