Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) launched the first part of its MAA Education series to inform and inspire brand marketers to stay ahead of the evolving landscape.
Held at the Cybertorium of Menara Star in Petaling Jaya, the event saw the Firm Decisions ex-chairman and founder and BROX Consultancy current owner David Brocklehurst delivering an insightful presentation titled “Commercial realities about your relationship with marketing agencies”.
In attendance were MAA members, agency representatives as well as marketeers.
Brocklehurst covered various topics from contracts to procurement, auditing and transparency.
“Transparency is the overall theme, because everyone wants transparency in their relationships, so they need to have good contracts, perform audits and run training programmes,” he said.
Why is auditing important for marketing agencies?
“Because experience shows not all marketing agencies comply with the contracts, because they are busy and contracts can be complicated and can be written differently for global and local contracts.
“There is so much money going through the marketing communications agencies that it is important to make sure to your stakeholders that you have good corporate governance and you have checked the money is being managed according to the contract.
“The client has a duty to its stakeholders to ensure that the money is managed correctly,” he said.
In his talk, Brocklehurst said there was a huge amount of money going through the media.
“Good corporate governance dictates that the money is spent correctly and there is no fraud attached and that the contract covers the client’s best interest.
“The audit pulls things together and highlights issues that are not appropriate and which are being done that no one knew or no one signed off on.
“There are so many reasons to do an audit, one of them is to assess relationships and what needs to be improved.
“Sometimes the finance department has trouble keeping up and there are issues being missed.
“At the end of the day, agencies are not trying to rip off clients, so there needs to be a continuous education programme,” he said.
MAA vice-president Foong Ai Peng said that unlike other advertising talks for marketers, this talk was applicable to the procurement and legal teams which helped in shaping the contracts.
She said it was designed with three target audiences in mind.
“The first is the growing SMEs in Malaysia, whereby the accelerating growth requires them to work with marketing agency partners to help them deliver marketing communications according to business needs.
“Second is large Malaysian advertisers that may not have the accessible best practices, unlike the third that are multinational companies concerning global contracts; it’s important for global marketers to be aware and able to do compliance and self-monitoring,” she said.
MAA president Claudian Navin Stanislaus said MAA had a calendar of events planned out for its members.
“The conversations started years ago about media contract audits, pushed by the World Federation of Advertisers and opened our eyes to the grey area that is not being looked into, with regards to compliance in contracts,” he said.