Corporate trade is coming of age. No longer the poor relation in the media world, it’s set to prosper 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
With the evolution of corporate trade the issue for
media agencies is struggling to understand what their
strategy should be. So I would like to put the record
straight about the choices available.
If you are a global media agency with a huge client
base at your disposal, such as Interpublic; having an
in-house corporate trade division, as they do, could be
an attractive option. Those tempted to set up such a
division should be aware that this is the most high risk
approach in terms of cost of investment.
Sourcing experienced staff with skill sets alien to the
normal agency requirements will not be easy or cheap.
There’s also the issue of conflict of interest with this
approach that potentially limits the scale and scope of
the in-house opportunity. After all, media agencies that
are not part of the group will be worried about
confidentiality and conflicts of interest.
Working with an independent corporate trade business
is more commonplace. Media agencies can work with
them in an exclusive relationship to handle all their
corporate trade work, meaning they operate with a
brand they trust. However, they must also remember that
corporate trade companies have different strengths and
weaknesses. This could 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. By taking this approach they can
introduce one or maybe two corporate trade companies to
their clients after conducting due diligence on their behalf
meaning no door is closed to you working with any of the
other corporate trade players should the situation arise. In
fact, some agencies have made a modest resource
investment in order to smoothly coordinate this process. This
means that clients get a choice of corporate trade business.
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 worldwide and so can successfully take
advantage of their investment, skills and experience.
Dean Wilson, UK managing director and
vice-president international division,