Planning agency relationships for 2018: Timing is key for marketing professionals


As South African companies head towards the summer holidays, many are winding down. Not so for Marketing Directors, says IAS Managing Director Johanna McDowell, as this six-month period has come to be known as “review season”.

“Just as individuals review their year toward the start of a new one, CMOs and marketing managers begin to look at what worked and what didn’t over the past year or so. The IAS has come to see the October to Feb/March period as the season to review campaigns and relationships with agencies; see what competitors are doing or have done; and perhaps even call for pitches,” McDowell says.

She adds that if there is any spend left in the marketers’ budgets, they also view this as a time where they can get to know other agencies on their rosters by charging them with smaller projects running up to the holidays.

Says McDowell: “Review season is governed by the calendar. We have financial year-end for many companies in February; Government fiscal year starting on 1 April; and multi-national companies’ fiscal year-end in December. It’s an intense time for marketers and agencies as they balance reviews with holiday and back to school campaigns, while keeping an eye on opportunities being put out to tender.”

Poised to assist marketers in making the right choices throughout the season, the IAS provides relationship management reviews as well as guidance before and during the review process. “We know that the CMO must demonstrate innovation and results come year-end, and our evaluations are designed to enable this,” McDowell asserts, adding that timing is key. “It’s about knowing when to review, and how to conduct the process.”

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