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Observatory International Newsletter – May 2023

A 5-Point Guide to Agency Roster Transformation

Agency roster transformation is often needed by many organisations during times of widespread marketing industry change, such as the period we are going through now.  However there is no template or one-size-fits all solution.  To help organisations adapt, we’ve compiled 5 key tips to ensure that a roster model transformation is a successful one.

  1. Discovery – It’s vital to engage stakeholders from across the organisation to unearth all needs and requirements, both current and future. This also has the additional benefit of ensuring key stakeholders feel part of the process and are therefore more readily engaged in the solution.
  2. The Model – this should complement the organisation’s own structure and strategy and be set up to help drive forward the business ambitions of the company.  Never leave it in the hands of a communications agency to tell you the model you need – it will inevitably reflect their capabilities rather your needs.
  3. Populating the Model – identify the types of agencies that can best populate your model and enhance any skillsets you already have in place.  You may need specialist help to identify these as agencies are constantly evolving and their talent is always moving.
  4. Measurement – the performance of all agency relationships should be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis so problems can be identified early and resolved.  A newly formed roster is a great moment in time to take a baseline on performance.
  5. Consider external help – involving a third-party consultancy to help you identify and develop the agency model will give you objectivity and industry-wide perspective and external benchmarks on the potential needs of your business and stakeholders without bias and any politics, plus their management of the process reduces resource requirements on internal personnel.

Agency Roster Transformation Process Steps


The pitch process isn’t broken, it just isn’t being done very well (by some)!

There’s been a vast amount written recently about how the agency pitch process is broken.  Most of the coverage seems to have forgotten that the pitch is a means to an end, not the end in itself.  The ‘end’, or the objective of the pitch should be to have the very best resources in place to drive your brand growth and transform your business.

Most Marketers will only be involved in a substantial pitch 2 or 3 times in their career at most.  And quite rightly your focus won’t be about staying on top of who is ‘hot’ and who isn’t across the agency landscape let alone what their  real range of capabilities are. Your focus, quite rightly will be on your business objectives.

And you probably won’t be surprised to know that there are very few agencies out there who don’t claim to be able to do everything you could possibly need, to a fantastic standard and at a surprisingly low cost. Until, that is, you appoint them…

Savings in running a pitch yourself rather than using expert advice and insider knowledge is a drop in the ocean compared with the investment in the winning agency over the years to deliver for your business.  Given this potential risk versus reward you should ensure that you have the very best advice in place to help guide you through the pitch process.

Otherwise you may find you have to go through the whole experience again which can’t be of benefit to you, your team, and more importantly, your business goals.

To see how we could support your next agency pitch please take a look at our Agency Search and Selection and Onboarding methodology.

The Convergence of Media, Creative and Production

On Wednesday 17th May we joined colleagues from MediaSense and APR in a virtual roundtable to discuss the convergence of Media, Creative and Production in operating models.  Key takeouts from the session included:

The key drivers for change in operating models amongst those attending the roundtable were:

  • The growth in importance of e-commerce and Influencers
  • The need for speed and agility
  • Resourcing and talent constraints
  • And limitations in measurement (post cookie)

Fundamentals for a successful change in operational models to address convergence were:

  • A clear business case – having clarity on the organisation’s ambitions and ROI expectations
  • Focus on the internal operating model and partner mix – structure must follow strategy
  • And have the right operating system, ways of working and governance in place to deliver it.
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