Media: Double Standards - Auditors: 'Nobody likes us but we don't care'

Media auditors need to have a thick skin and no real desire to be liked. But the girls, parties, fast cars and cash must surely be more than adequate compensation...

MARTIN SAMBROOK - global account director, Media Audits

What benefits do advertisers It all depends on the sponsoring

gain from using your services? clients' perception of value. Value

drivers can be different, depending on

the role and objectives of the client.

Finance, procurement, advertising and

marketing clients will all give

different views on the value-added

outputs of the service.

Who you're talking to will shape a

relationship broadly between the hard

"cash" savings approach and media

"value". Obviously agencies find it

easier to be creative about the latter

approach.

What would you say to critics We measure what's measurable and what

who suggest you're geared to the clients want measured - there are

measuring price and cost many currencies of measurement

rather than real value? proffered but few are absolute,

objective and accountable.

How frequently do agencies Value delivery, not just discount,

offer discounts to new clients should be set out in the agency

that they then can't deliver? contract to convert the mere promise

to a binding guarantee. We work

closely with the client procurement

professionals to ensure all parties

know their responsibilities and

potential financial penalties. A good

contract ensures performance. We do

not, therefore, encourage agencies to

promise what they cannot deliver.

There seems to be an inherent I see no conflict in what my business

conflict between your ability provides to its clients. In fact, I

to offer independent auditing see a perfect fit between running a

to advertisers and then your pitch, agreeing the deliverables into

attempts to sell consultancy a contract, then monitoring the

services and co-ordinate new- delivery from the audit process.

business pitches. How do you

explain this? Where there is a conflict I think it

is when advice is about originating

and shaping strategy, then auditing

the outcome of that strategy - yes,

that's dangerous territory, ethically

and practically. That sort of

consultancy I and my business are

happy to steer clear of, thank you

very much.

Which media market is the most Up until a couple of years ago, before

advanced and why? developing my global role, I probably

would have given a Little Englander

response to this question. But having

now worked across Western and Central

Europe, Asia and North America I would

probably say France. Why? It's just

the scientific diligence that the

French have in their approach to all

business problems and decisions, not

just media. By the way, it can also be

a deeply frustrating approach to work

with too.

How difficult is it to audit Media Audits has a consistent process

pan-European advertisers when for international reporting to clients

there are no universal - what is done locally is reported

research tools or audience with the expertise of local staff

measurement systems? using local research tools, monitoring

local objectives. As is well practised

in client companies: "Think global -

act local."

What qualities does it take to Listening skills, thick skin, a

be good at what you do? logical approach to problems,

emotionally distant from both client

and agency when necessary.

No burning need to be liked, but

respected perhaps.

What's the most exciting thing The girls, the parties, the fast cars,

about working in media the money. Where do I start?

auditing?

Don't you think that auditors No. Not in a world where four media

are too powerful? groupings control 84 per cent of

global media expenditure.

What is the most fun you have In auditing, each new day brings with

ever had in your job? it an ever-richer bundle of laughs.

ANDY PEARCH - chief executive, media consulting, Billetts

What benefits do advertisers Fundamentally better return on their

gain from using your services? media investment. For one client that

could mean cash saved to re-invest in

other channels to market. For another,

having the confidence to challenge the

status quo and deliver smarter

executions.

What would you say to critics Take a tour round our business. Our

who suggest you're geared to audit system is geared to quality as

measuring price and cost much as price. We have a thriving

rather than real value? marketing effectiveness division and

we lead our sector with our media

research unit.

How frequently do agencies Rarely. Agencies are specialists -

offer discounts to new clients they know what they can and cannot

that they then can't deliver? deliver and they know the costs of

over-trading.

There seems to be an inherent There is no conflict at all.

conflict between your ability Everything we do is geared to

to offer independent auditing providing advice to advertisers to

to advertisers and then your improve their marketing effectiveness.

attempts to sell consultancy

services and co-ordinate new-

business pitches. How do you

explain this?

Which media market is the most Geographically, the UK. This is down

advanced and why? to three factors:

entrepreneurialism, accountability and

innovation. Having said that, media

trading in the UK has not advanced for

a long, long time.

How difficult is it to audit There is more consistency than you

pan-European advertisers when might think. Advertisers want common

there are no universal processes informed by local expertise.

research tools or audience I get concerned when I see auditors

measurement systems? imposing systems which suit their own

business goals as opposed to their

clients' best interests.

What qualities does it take to Intellectual curiosity, customer focus

be good at what you do? and a thick skin!

What's the most exciting thing I'm not willing to answer that

about working in media question.

auditing?

Don't you think that auditors Get real!

are too powerful?

What is the most fun you have Again, I'm not willing to answer that

ever had in your job? question.

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