Mindshare's Gerhart Surprises Procurement, Tells Them To Mind Their Ps & Qs

Media agencies are used to being confronted with scorecards from clients benchmarking their performance, but Mindshare Global CEO Adam Gerhart turned the tables on a roomful of the world's biggest marketers late last week, surprising them with a new scorecard putting the client/agency relationship in a more holistic perspective.

It came during a presentation Gerhart was making with a top client procurement executive – Novartis Global Head of Media & Digital Procurement Katherine Freeley – during the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) media conference on Thursday.

The subject was about the role of procurement in the media services process, and provided an overview of recent studies and recommendations conducted by the ANA as well as the World Federation of Advertisers, and how they could improve their relationships and communication and align their goals to reduce marketing costs, but more importantly, to improve value for all their stakeholders, especially consumers.



Gerhart organized the media procurement process around three quotients to it:

  • An intellectual one, or IQ.
  • An emotional one, or EQ.
  • And one that accounts for "the passion of the consumer experience," or PQ.
While they are each relatively important in the media procurement process, Gerhart implied that the consumer quotient often isn't factored explicitly into the procurement process, citing an example like "sustainable" media buys, in which consumers expect the brands they do business with to be more carbon neutral in the way the advertise and use media.

"On the one hand, procurement is saying, 'Give us the cheapest CPM you possibly can," Gerhart explained, noting that the cost for a carbon offset or a carbon-neutral media plan may be "exponentially greater than what you would pay otherwise."

Gerhart suggested all of the quotients and stakeholder goals -- especially the consumer's -- need to be an integral and "holistic" part of the procurement and media services process, and that clients and agencies need to build roadmaps that account for them end-to-end to deliver on them.

Near the end of the presentation, he surprised Freeley -- and the ANA attendees -- with a slide showing a version of a scorecard rating IQ, EQ and PQ buckets based on the the "self-scores" of procurement teams, as well as perceptions of client marketing and agency media services.

"Imagine if you took those three areas and you actually scored each of those constituency groups. And you said, what is procurement’s self-score across IQ, EQ and PQ? What would marketing’s score of procurement be? And what would the agency’s score of procurement be," Gerhart offered as he showed the slide.

"The chasm of perception that exists across all those constituents, the ultimate barometer would be creating a scorecard of this sort to show us where those gaps actually exist," he concluded.

"Well Adam, I was little upset that you just gave me this slide I’ve never seen before, but I love it. It’s an amazing scorecard," Freeley responded, adding, “It could be a really good barometer for all the relationships that are forming between the media procurement people and the agencies.”

"At the very least, it creates a dialogue," Gerhart said. "And sometimes a dialogue that we don’t often realize can actually unlock the value we are talking about by exposing where those gaps and chasms exist."

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