As a media agency, do you know which Corporate Trade strategy to use?
Corporate trade, once the ugly duckling of the media world,
has in recent years come of age. In fact, it’s an industry that’s
set to prosper – particularly in these difficult economic times.
Why? Well, media agencies and brands are starting to see
how these businesses can effectively boost their media and
marketing campaigns by unlocking value from
underperforming assets – an increasingly important task
amid budget cuts in a tough trading climate.
As corporate trade reaches maturity more opportunities than
ever are available to agencies and brands.
It also means media agencies are becoming increasingly
bewildered as to what their strategy should be with corporate
trade, so I would like to set the record straight about what
choices they have…
Key questions that agencies need to ponder, include: do I set
up a corporate trade business in-house; or do I work with an
existing independent corporate trade company – and if so,
should I work with them on an exclusive, or recommended,
Some global media agencies, such as Interpublic, have
established in-house corporate trade divisions. This could
be an attractive option if you have a huge client base at your
disposal. However, it is arguably the highest risk approach in
terms of cost of investment. Just one of the big challenges is
sourcing and employing experienced staff, often with skillets
alien to the normal agency requirements.
A further issue with this model is that those media agencies
that set up such a company will struggle to win business
outside of their family group. After all, media agencies that
are not part of the group will be worried about confidentiality
and conflicts of interest. This potentially limits the scale and
scope of an in-house opportunity.
When it comes to working with independent corporate
trade businesses there are many different ways of working.
Some media agencies have an exclusive relationship with a
corporate trade partner to handle all their work. While on the
positive side this means the media agency can work with a
business they trust, they must also remember that corporate
trade companies have different strengths and weaknesses.
Therefore an exclusive relationship will potentially restrict the
agency’s ability to offer the best solution in the market and
deliver one that meets the needs of clients.
Most agencies are working with corporate trade partners on
a recommended basis. This is when they introduce one or
maybe two corporate trade companies to their clients after
conducting due diligence on their behalf. In fact some
agencies have made a modest resource investment in order
to smoothly coordinate this process. This means that clients
get a choice and the door is not closed to you working
with any of the other corporate trade players should the
In my opinion, this is the best working solution for
media agencies with corporate trade providers.
By working in this way, agencies are able to
offer flexibility and variation to their clients,
based on their needs. They’ll also have
access to independent corporate trade
businesses who are the ones leading
the way in the UK and so can
successfully take advantage of their
Investment, skills and experience.