Back to articles

Production decoupling: What to Be Aware of

6th August 2020
Reading time 3 min
Production decoupling: What to Be Aware of

The next highest cost, after media, is advertising production, including TV, digital, social media, print and broadcast. The most common reasons that clients overpay for production are:

  • Poor planning

  • Lack of understanding

  • Time constraints

  • Complex approval processes involving management consultants

With this in mind, here are tips to ensure that advertising production costs are on track:

  • Let’s say a booth needs to be designed. The said designer must be upfront with all details, including requirements, standards, objectives and so on. This must be all in writing so there is no confusion moving forward.

  • Continuing on, the booth must be designed by the following weekend. Is this possible? The production schedule must be shared from the beginning to give the agency ample time for ideation, development, approvals, production, final approvals and distribution. Time delays can be costly.

  • Marketers have the right to ask for additional quotes, especially when the first seems out of reach. Insisting on three competitive quotes is key, but true competitive pricing can be far fetched since properly executed tenders are few and far between. Agencies can, however, provide a variety of costs, from initial budget to full costs, from which marketers can choose from.

  • If costs seem exorbitant, agencies must provide a detailed list of their costs, costs of their suppliers and what each cost was used for. Marketers should have a full understanding of each cost and determine whether contingencies for unanticipated costs are appropriate, or whether they become profit for agencies.

  • Most agencies will offer the highest quality execution for assets, but marketers must realise whether it makes sense for each particular campaign. For example, if the campaign is short-lived, does it necessarily need massive wood over particle board? It is necessary to consider the campaign’s budget, length and reach when evaluating costs.

  • Another approach to keep costs down is for companies to source materials themselves. Agencies often receive discounts or commission from suppliers and it is in their best interest to choose them strategically. If the company does not have the resources to manage suppliers in-house, they might also consider hiring third-party suppliers directly and tasking the agency to pass on the costs and oversee production. This also avoids allowing the agency to recommend more costly production houses for their own gain.

  • It is of utmost importance for marketers to implement a strategic approval process so that the right decisions are made at the right time. Making changes later in the production timeline can bring about unforeseen costs. Approval dates should be identified by the start of production and everyone involved must align with and follow the agreed-upon deadlines.

  • All talent working on the campaign must be aware of every stage of the process. Even though senior management does not need to be present at every meeting, keeping them informed can avoid changes being made late in the production process and, inevitably, contain unnecessary spending down the road.

  • All extra costs should be communicated before moving forward. In fact, extras can be one of the most expensive parts of production and should only be reimbursed if they were approved by the company beforehand.

”It is important to plan ahead, clarify and manage teams in order not to incur unforeseen costs.”

Here are some barriers to be aware of:

Local teams may wish to continue collaboration with their own suppliers
Solution: From the very beginning, regional management should be supported in overseeing budgets, approving local initiatives, education and communicating benefits.

Local management may be hesitant to use tools that regulate approvals and audit all performance measures
Solution: Remote training sessions are vital until “superusers” are created. Training sessions can be hosted periodically for new staff and teams.

Creative agencies are reluctant to relinquish some responsibilities (DTP, design, etc.)
Solution: Creative agencies are made aware of the changes from the initial stages and are involved in transition approaches.

Adjusting workflow
Solution: Clients should be completely open to production decoupling and what this model has to offer. Agencies should be an integral part of the process, and give suggestions and value to clients.

Communication with various teams for final deliverables
Solution: The production agency communicates with the creative agency and all teams are invited to use a single communication channel to deliver all assets.

Agencies and production houses fighting for the highest status in the client’s eyes
Solution: Agencies and production suppliers must depend on each other in order to create the most efficient and successful campaigns that meet the client’s needs.

In conclusion, it is important to plan ahead, clarify and manage teams in order not to incur unforeseen costs.

Go to the next article

Get the Ultimate Guide to Production Decoupling.

Find out how your brand can benefit from letting your creative agency develop only core ideas and moving the creative production to a specialist production house.

Download your free guide