Ms. Green Sykes said that while the retailer has a lead agency
-- Ogilvy &
Mather -- it works with other agencies, and her goal is to have
them get together as much as possible to ensure strong
relationships all around.
For Andrew Davidson, CMO at Crocs, which has an in-house agency,
a strong partnership between marketers and creatives "starts with a
transparent and honest relationship." He added that marketing execs
need to be transparent about their goals and challenges, and
there's a strong need for marketers to work with creatives to help
them understand the landscape the brand competes in. Mr. Davidson
added that Crocs is able to squeeze more out of its modest
marketing budget, not only because it cut costs by bringing
marketing in-house, but by placing a priority on targeting and
Other crucial elements from the marketer perspective include the
requirement that agencies understand exactly what a brand's values
are in its marketing. "We wanted to bring in an agency that
understood our tonality," said Ed Gliech, senior VP-global
marketing at Little Caesars, who recently oversaw an agency review,
tapping BFG 9000 for
national creative. That tonality, of course, is light hearted
humor, which historically have been part of the brand's
He also said that Little Caesars has been giving BFG 9000 a bit
more freedom than many people may be comfortable with. "We look at
setting up parameters that are pretty loose. If it makes us
uncomfortable, that 's not a bad thing." Mr. Gleich added that
Little Caesars is widely known as a challenger brand in the
marketplace -- and its marketing budget is a fraction of the
budgets of chains like Pizza Hut. But the chain uses that to its
advantage. "We have many great things going for our brand" and
bringing in agencies allows Little Caesars to amplify things that
are working well for it, such as convenience and value. "It's
picking partners that understand that as well and are willing to
take a risk to make our nickels spend like dimes."
As for what marketers think agencies need to do to be more
effective, Mr. Gleich said, "be as efficient as you can. Spend
money like it's your money." Ms. Green Sykes said that the most
important thing is that agencies "have a point of view."
Mr. Davidson, who is an agency veteran, offered a little bit of
sympathy for the agencies when it comes to how marketers view their
effectiveness. "Being on client side, there's a lot of complexity
and variables you're not thinking about on the agency side."
Agency compensation models, which can be a sensitive subject,
were also a topic of discussion. Mr. Gleich, for instance, said
Little Caesars' compensation model is a traditional one, but there
is a performance incentive tied to franchisees' profitability. Ms.
Green Sykes said that Ikea has added a new element to its
compensation model that 's tied to the business results.