"We're going to invite consultants to come in with our New Business Committee to discuss the issues," said Charles Decker Jr., Four A's senior VP-management services and head of the committee. He called the guidelines a "starting point" in improving the agency/consultant relationship.
Meetings with consultants should be under way by mid-November.
"We want to eliminate any misunderstandings," Mr. Decker said. "We'll probably start [by inviting] some of the larger consultancies. There's 10 or so consultants that represent 90% of the business."
The association's guidelines list recommended procedures for agencies in dealing with consultants during account reviews. While some marketers and consultants said they recognized the need for guidelines, they chastised the Four A's for not seeking their input (AA, Oct. 6, et seq.).
Gary Stibel, principal of the New England Consulting Group, said the meetings should also include marketers, though Mr. Decker said, only consultants have been invited at this point.
"Guidelines are needed in the industry, but they should not be one-sided," said Mr. Stibel. "They should be developed together [by agencies, marketers and consultants] so the industry is given a model that works for all three