Marketing Matchmaking

Startups and smaller agencies:  marriages made in VC heaven

marketingthingy blog post image

I’ve been loitering in the VC galaxy lately, and it’s a funky neighborhood.  Private equity firms and their representatives are very active, especially in the technology space, looking for the next this or that, and betting millions on “neato” ideas.  And while figuring out which companies might get a shot at glory is a little bit like deconstructing Scientology, the real work begins after funding.

As it relates to marketing, startups (pre-money or post,) have challenges that established brands don’t.  A startup brand has to do more explaining, more demonstrating, more proving their worth – they’re fighting for a reliable spot in the minds of consumers.  And that’s in addition to duking it out and swiping some share from all the competitors out there, who are themselves both enjoying and defending their established positions.

So how does a startup go about the business of selecting an agency?  Since it’s not a typical discovery process, and likely not a standard RFP protocol, it can get a little dicey.  So let’s look at the basic DNA points of startup companies and their related marketing needs:

  • They need to move fast
  • They likely have a limited budget (being watched over like a hawk by the newly installed CFO or COO from the investment team)
  • They need to differentiate
  • They need to build credibility
  • They need to generate transactions
  • They need to build brand awareness
  • From the investor’s point of view, they need to LAST
  • They need good data, since they’re already working on version 2.0, (this is true whether the startup is a technology company, or a vacuum cleaner or a type of insurance.)

Small agencies are a fit for startups:
If you put your matchmaking hat on for just a moment, you see that these traits match up almost perfectly with a small (or smaller) agency.  Generally speaking, smaller agencies can produce appreciable results, quickly, and for less initial investment.  There are a number of reasons for this (and this is NOT a bash piece on larger agencies – they have their place, and we’ll get to that in a moment,) not the least of which is scale.  With less overhead and heft, smaller agencies can generate results for startups for less overall dollars.

Smaller agencies have a gift for seeing numerous finish lines that are attainable and help to motivate the internal staff.  For instance, a smaller agency might recommend a social media program for the startup.  And then it becomes a race to 10,000 likes.  Or 1,000 followers.  Or whatever.  These are simple, digestible goals for both the agency and the client…and it looks like progress. With larger agencies, success like this is just a daily occurrence, and it may have lost its luster.

Smaller agencies are also more likely to look for “under the radar” strategies.  And as it relates to the need to last, smaller agencies will typically put more legwork in setting up strategic partnerships (like distribution or sell-in) with other entrepreneurs in their small agency network.  In contrast, larger agencies see success in TRPs, and typically recommend advertising first, everything else after.

Smaller agencies are less of a risk:
Smaller agencies are also easier to fire, since the financial risk of their involvement is limited.  And that’s actually an advantage to the startup.  With less overall exposure, they’re not tied to overly long-term plans.  So if things aren’t going well after year 1, they may consider a reboot, either with another small agency, or perhaps a slightly larger marketing enterprise, if things are beginning to move.

Choose wisely – based on objectives:
It all depends on the objectives for the startup and their investment team.  If things are indeed progressing according to plan, a smaller agency may NOT be the partner to help that company expand globally, or to establish more high-profile partnerships.  In that case, it may be time to pass the ball.  And although smaller agencies match up with startup needs and their financial limitations, larger agencies do have more reach and more bodies to execute on multiple planes at once. For instance, if the play is to execute a truly integrated marketing outreach, a large agency can put experts on every channel in about a day and roll out the integrated plan next Tuesday across social, mobile, web, TV, radio, outdoor and even a cool experiential thing at a trade show next week. The little guys simply don’t have that kind of muscle.

In addition, larger agencies have advantages that smaller agencies cannot even comprehend. While a smaller agency might be able to do more with less, larger agencies have the ability to do EVEN more with more. Take media buying, for instance.  If a small agency is buying spot cable for a limited budget, they’re going to get only so far.  Mr. Big agency comes along and requests the same buy, and then smoothly reminds the station that they also buy tens of millions across the network, and they’re likely to get more points/exposure or better slots for the same outlay. It’s simply the law of scale and leverage.

Those advantages aside, however, small agencies and startups are clearly a match with big upside possibility – from the business side straight on through to intangibles, like personality, vibe, etc.  But it’s mostly because, in the best cases, the two companies help each other grow into their fullest potential.

Eat Marketing for Lunch

Looking for a fresh perspective on your business?
Start by consuming some of what you produce.

Here’s an interesting paradox. I’ve been in and around advertising for my entire 22-year career. And throughout that time, I’ve become increasingly desensitized to the type of work I produce… and that’s largely the result of a sort of self-imposed effort at OBJectivity.

However, over the past two years or so, I’ve been engaged in a new and evolving experiment to become more SUBjective to advertising messages. (In a really objective and observant way. Told you it was paradoxical.)

Since I’m involved in strategic brand activities and message development, I’m trying to avoid myopia. I’m trying to allow messages to sink in. I’m trying to see what strategies really break through, and which ones just get lost in the clutter and the noise. I’m trying to continually become better at what I do, and my competitors provide a mountain of useful information on the subject every day.  I’m consuming a LOT of advertising and marketing messages these days.

Marketers in any category can fall into these I’m-living-in-the-bubble-of-my-business patterns. If you’re a CMO of a large corporation, or the Chief Idea Girl in a lean startup, you’re focused on what’s right in front of you. You’ve got operational challenges. Staffing issues. You’re reviewing the plans. You’re considering hiring a shop to handle your social media. You’ve got a LOT going on. There’s simply not bandwidth to consume more stuff, or to consider more inputs.

But you must. Because it’s simply the only way to gain any real perspective on your own business-side matters. Here are a few simple steps that I’ve been taking that can help you gain some insights and ensure that you’re not operating – or investing in marketing your business – in a vacuum:

Go shopping (or searching) in your category.
This is the fun part. (Warning: it can also be a challenge for certain businesses, like orthodontia for example.) Be a browser. Be a consider-er. Look at your competitors first, and then look at anybody who does what you do. If you’re selling at retail, go to the stores you’re in and see who else is on the shelf. Better yet, go to the stores you WANT to be in and see what’s going on there.

One cool thing I do is pick specific markets far from NYC (where I’m headquartered) and then do online searches there. Why’s the restaurant scene rocking in Reno? Whose hand-made jeans are jumping off the shelves in Joplin? Is there somebody is Topeka who’s peddling test prep? Whatever your category, (b-to-b or consumer,) engage in the art of careful consideration.

Take note of what made you notice: was it the packaging? A promise embedded in the brand? Did you look at the ads?

Consume your competitor’s stuff. And some of your own.
Next, take it a step further. It may seem like sacrilege, but open up your wallet (virtual or otherwise) and buy some stuff made by your competitors, and some stuff made by your company. This is the ONLY way to truly immerse yourself in how your customers might feel when they buy your (or their) products or services. Follow the process from start to finish. Take note of everything, from the customer service if that applies, to the shipping, to the packaging when it arrives. Put it on or boot it up.

How do you FEEL? That’s the ethos you want to capture. There are deep emotional bonds being formed between brands and consumers every day. You must choose and manage the emotions you want to convey and the way you want them conveyed very carefully indeed.

Be brutally honest about your assessments.
One of the things we all like to do is assume superiority. “Their stuff is inferior to our stuff” is a common collective agreement at virtually every organization. (Seriously, don’t try to deny it.) So now, you have to shake that tribal mentality off and really observe what’s going on for you when you consume other products in your category. Is the ride smoother? Does it work better? Are there fun features you didn’t know about? Were you SURPRISED beyond your expectations? Make notes. Make lots of notes. Was it the marketing? What did you experience when you browsed the website? How did you feel when you bought your own stuff? Did you measure up?

Leverage your learning. Hard.
Now that you’ve done this, it’s time to take a good hard look at your own stuff and your own processes for delivering it to customers. If you can honestly you say you kick everyone else’s ass, (and your name is not already Musk, or Zuckerberg, or Brin,) then congratulations. You’ve outwitted, out-efforted and have come to dominate your market. But for the rest of us, you have an opportunity to thrust your organization forward on objectivity. Take the things you learned and put them to work. You’ll be surprised at the ancillary ideas that are sparked. A competitor’s label might jar your memory about a data capture form on your website. A competitor’s ad might help you formulate some platforms for your next product innovations. Your own ideals about your own products might be improved or elevated in some way.

Engage your team (or your partners, or your cat) with your new ideas. If you’ve got one employee or 10,000, your newly found observations can have a profound impact on how things go. They may be threatened at first, but they’ll likely be inspired to go above and beyond and really start to wow people.

Use what you’ve experienced, purchased and learned – on a first-hand, completely subjective basis – about your competitors as a starting point for positioning against and amongst them. Ultimately, you’ll find new ways to move your organization forward in a much more objective and holistic manner. Plus you’ll have a bunch of new stuff to play with in your office.

Distribution: The Inconvenient Truth for Brands

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I was having a conversation recently with a woman who is SERIOUS about fashion. She dresses impeccably, and cares pretty deeply about the name on the tag inside every skirt, blouse and shoe she wears. I posed a question: “what if you could get (insert uber brand here, like Christian Louboutin, for instance) at a discount retail outlet like Costco? Would you do it?”

She shot back: “NO WAY.”

Now, pardon the “focus group of one” here, but this seemed to shed some light on an interesting sub-topic of marketing, which seems especially important considering it also impacts one of the four cornerstones of our entire industry.

As our conversation went on, it turned out that even a significant savings of 10-15% wouldn’t be enough to convince her to go to a discount retailer for the toppermost brands she so covets. She also believed that most people (men AND women) who are serious about fashion would agree.

As it turns out, “where” may be as equally important as “what” when it comes to the experience of brands, and not just fashion brands. Distribution strategies (also known as “Place” in marketing 101) help consumer brands reach customers, typically creating a factor of convenience or an experience of excellence, depending on the brand and the target audience. But this paradox seems to touch so many aspects of marketing, such as price, product, place, brand ethos and even consumer perceptions. Let’s examine.

The Price Question
Many brands are sold at retail outlets and also online through many e-tailers, which may include the brand’s own website. (This is true in almost every category: fashion, appliances, electronics, home goods, food and beverage, health and beauty, etc.) In some cases, price shopping is a driving factor. In other cases, it’s not. Some brands don’t discount because they built their brand to own the high price position, or (with a case like Apple) the prices are simply non-negotiable. (You can’t get a “cheaper” iPod anywhere – the prices are fixed.) So unless the price is steeply discounted for a brand at one outlet over another, the consumer will likely choose to shop at a distribution point (online or offline) that is either a.) convenient or b.) preferred.
So, regarding price, the distribution strategy matters.

Brand and Perception
For a high-end brand (like Louboutin,) there is a perception that it can’t possibly be sold at places other than the most selective boutiques. That’s part of the brand’s equity. But for mass market brands, and even discount brands, the locations still have to match up with the brand personality. The distribution center, then, becomes a very important aspect of building the brand. (You won’t hear THAT much from your agency!) It’s just as weird to find Louboutin in Costco as it is to find Wrangler or Lee jeans at Nordstrom. It’s just a disconnect that can impact the brand, and for that matter, the brand perception of the retailer, too!

Note: In other cases, the brand and the distribution center are inextricably linked to cement the brand and its perception. Think Old Navy.
So, regarding brand perception, the distribution strategy matters.

The Consumer Experience
Finally, in some cases, the consumer experience gets folded into the overall brand offering. If you’re a high end fashion brand, you want to manage the entire experience of how the consumer goes about acquiring their next piece of your clothing: the way the store looks, the way the salesperson greets and works with the consumer, the fitting room experience, the checkout and most certainly the bag or packaging she’ll walk out of the store with. (Note, this is different than product packaging, which is a discipline unto itself.)
So, as it turns out, where DOES matter to consumers, across almost all points of concern.

It’s time for more marketers and agencies to get with this inconvenient truth, and start building brands to include the distribution ecosystem as a key brand building block and cornerstone of brand maturity.

Curation: The Magic Word for Marketers

Marcel Duchamp Cubist Painting 1912

I recently attended CES in Las Vegas to do some research for a client.  CES was huge and hyperactive and I hated it. My resistance was not due to the size or number or quality of exhibits, but rather the show’s inability to navigate me through any of it.

We live in a consumer-centric world, powered by immediacy and universality of choice (otherwise known as the Internet.) Today, we can shop for anything online, customize the features, and dictate how it’s delivered. Everything from clothing to cars to medicines to media.

And that’s pretty peachy. We all love choice. We all love control. But the surprising truth in many of our brand interactions is that we’re not all very good at it. Especially when the choices are overwhelming.

At CES, I longed for a GUIDE of some sort. I wished there was a handbook that outlined what I wanted to see if, for instance, I only had 2 hours to spend there. Or if I was only interested in “small, cool audio stuff.” Or if I just wanted to knock around and see celebrities. (There were many in attendance. I passed on Snooki and 50 Cent and took a front row seat at Earth, Wind & Fire. Call me old school.)

Such a guide would have still afforded me choice, but those choices would have been curated for me. And curation is the magic word for the new consumer world.

Curation is the antidote for a world of infinite choices. It relates to both content and the methods of its consumption. Those marketers who can provide guides or maps or recommendations for their consumers will have a much more fruitful relationship with them as a result. This is true in both the consumer and business-to-business galaxies. Some examples:

Museums curate exhibits. Of all the Duchamp cubist paintings, a certain museum might choose 30 of them. They would then arrange them in a distinct order, put them on certain walls, make you stand in directed spots to view them. Remember, content and the mode of consumption. The subtext here is “the museum strongly suggests you view Duchamp this way.” It’s a very specific experience. If I want some other experience, I can gladly seek it elsewhere.

Restaurants curate food experiences. The menu, by definition, is a curated presentation of food. The chef took all the ingredients available that day and culled them to eight appetizers, eight entrees and five desserts to choose from. Would going to a restaurant and just seeing a big buffet of basic ingredients (vegetables, fish, lettuces, meats, sweets) be the same? Not a chance. Here’s exactly where I DON’T want to have too much choice. (Sidebar: this was how the original “Craft” restaurant in New York started. Chef Tom Colicchio just presented the menu items, and left the pairing decisions to guests. In the June 2001 review of Craft,  New York Times Restaurant Reviewer William Grimes stated “…(the culinary arts,) function more efficiently as dictatorships.”)

Brands in virtually all categories curate personal experiences. Whether it’s how your clothes smell, or what your ringtone is, or what color the dashboard lights are in your vehicle or the editors of your favorite business magazine – we, as consumers or business customers, are seeking features and experiences that enrich our lives in some way. But for goodness sake, we want someone ELSE to tell us what those are.

We want Amazon to tell us it has “recommendations” for us. We want Google to auto-fill our search terms. We want the Gap to recommend a sweet belt to go with that sweater we just purchased. Sure, we ultimately want to make the buying choice, but what we need brands to do is present the pathways to making them.

Marketers, take note. Curate an experience for us. Stand for something. Deliver something specific, that no one else can deliver. Or deliver something that lots of other people can deliver, but do it in a way that’s unique, or cool, or fun, or hip or technologically cool or convenient. Because we all want choices…we’re just not all very good at making them.

This article first appeared on Technorati.

Give the Gift of Anything: Three Keys to Overachieving with Customers

So, it’s the holiday season, and naturally, our thoughts turn to spending time with loved ones, eating (or over-eating in my case,) and the best part: sharing gifts. Whatever holiday you share, exchanging gifts is typically a part of it, and it adds an absolute level of joy, intrigue and excitement as we count down to the big day (or days, or geological phenomena, or whatever you celebrate.)

But what is it about gift-giving and gift-receiving that’s so special? Why do we bother with the fancy wrapping and the bows and the bags and the pomp and the circumstance?  As it turns out, there’s a marketing lesson in this process that’s worth evaluating.  I’ve found three keys that help keep my clients focused on delivering – and in some cases, overdelivering – on value.

The first key:  Surprise
Unless you’re one of those kids who makes a list and then GETS what you asked for, (and ewww if you do,) gifts, as we know them, are something typically UNEXPECTED.  At the very least, there’s a surprise element in the DNA of gifts that make them so enjoyable to receive.  (And as we get older, to give, too.)  In some cases, outside of the holiday construct, giving a gift can be an unexpected circumstance altogether.  Like when flowers arrive, or someone sends you a heartfelt greeting card or surprises you with something like a special dinner.

The second key:  Value
Another important ingredient that makes gifts so juicy is that they’re usually VALUABLE.  It’s not to say that they must be expensive, as much as having real value to the recipient.  That value could be monetary, could be sentimental, could be utilitarian, could be intellectual, could be sexy.

The third key:  Context
Finally, and this is the key, the cornerstone of a great gift experience is correlated to the level of CONTEXT on the part of the recipient.  When you give a gift that someone genuinely wants or really likes, there’s no limit to the value that can be put on it whatsoever.  Sure, unexpected and valuable gifts are nice, but give me something I really want, or have been searching for, or mentioned months ago, or is in a category I have enthusiasm for – that’s a gift I’ll always remember.

Now, let’s think like marketers.  When was the last time you created a structure where you could give a GIFT to your customer?  No, I’m not talking about a little box with a bow, but rather, when was the last time you gave something unexpected to your customer?  When was the last time you added real value to a transaction beyond what was agreed or expected?  When was the last time you took the time to find out what your customers really like, and then over-delivered it, or created a conversation around it that they could participate in or created an event based on that thing for them to attend?

This is what smart marketers do, on every level.  They first agree what the structure of the relationship is going to be:  I’m going to sell you gourmet food and wine in a fine dining atmosphere; I’m going to provide insightful television programming; I’m going to design clothes that you’ll want to wear; whatever.  But once that structure is set up, the smart marketer looks to add these three key ingredients:  surprise, value, context.  So the attentive marketer needs to watch his or her customers carefully, learn what they like, learn what they value, and then surprise them with something perfectly timed and perfectly tuned.

How can you add these three elements into your future marketing?  Whether you’re a small, local business or a multi-national corporation with thousands of employees, give your customers a gift every now and then, and you’ll find they give them right back in the form of deeper relationships, more referrals, maybe even brand loyalty.

The Law of Failure

Illustration:  Bruce Crilly

It’s been noted in many places that Thomas Edison [caricatured above] may have failed as many as 1,000 times at inventing an electric-powered light bulb, and when asked about his string of failures, he turned the tables by saying (and I’m paraphrasing,) “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. I succeeded at inventing a light bulb, and it took 1,000 steps to arrive at it.”

A recent New York Times article asked the question “What if the Secret to Success is Failure?” when discussing education and character among school-age children. Do a search on “failure,” and you’ll find inspiring stories of heroes of history who have failed mightily on the way to great successes: Churchill, Einstein, Darwin, Pasteur, Ford and on and on.

And at the recent DMA International Conference in Boston, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, turned failure on its head relative to social media, stating “if someone posts a negative comment about your product, it demonstrates a level of investment and passion about your brand.”

Okay, that’s a lot of fluffy and warm and puppies. But in business – and particularly in marketing – we’re trained otherwise. For most of us, “failure is not an option” for our next product rollout, or our next advertising plan, or our next event. However, if we embrace The Law of Failure, we might find that failing helps to reveal what success really looks like.

In almost every business, professionals fail their way into success, typically in a process of elimination continuum: try › fail › tweak › repeat until try ultimately leads to success. At which point, you test the snot out of that success to ensure repeatability and reliability. This is true in engineering; in medicine; in sports; in fashion; in entertainment; in technology; in a zillion other categories.

In marketing and advertising, (direct, media, creative,) we call it “testing.” But testing is simply an accepted euphemism for “financing failure to yield better strategies.” Why else would almost every big campaign be run through focus groups first?  Why test your spots on samples of your target demographic? It’s not so much that you can see what WORKS, but rather that you can reveal what DOESN’T.

My theory on why it is so vehemently avoided in the marketing/advertising arena is simply because of the money flow. When doing medical testing, for instance, the medical company has an R&D budget to cobble away in a lab for sometimes years at a time. In engineering or technology, all the sunk costs are stacked upfront – sometimes financed by venture capitalists – and millions or tens or hundreds of millions of dollars might be spent to arrive at a new design/product/solution that then gets recouped upon selling/distributing/launching.

But in advertising, the money flow is different. The typical relationship is an outsourcing model (company x hires agency y to develop the marketing program) that puts the pressure on the marketer to justify that spend and that agency choice. It’s our money, so you better spend it wisely. No marketer I’ve ever met wants to hear in the pitch “yeah, we’re gonna spend a percentage of the budget on failing.”

But that’s essentially what’s happening. Sure we do research, we do cluster analyses, we create predictive models. My colleague David Adelman at OCD Media is a media planner who creates predictive models in order to yield what he calls the most “testable propositions.”

The only problem (in advertising and marketing) is that those propositions are tested out in the marketplace, and failure is seen as a scarlet letter on the breast of the marketer (and in many high-profile cases, the agency, too.)

But I propose that failure is not a sad end to high hopes, but rather an intelligent investment in future successes.

When you fail at strategy X, you now have saved an innumerable amount of money because you KNOW that strategy X won’t work (under the current conditions.) You can instead pursue strategies Y and Z. And if they fail, you save proportional amounts, and so on. KNOWING is powerful.  Failure leads to knowing, whereas success is sometimes an intoxicating mix of planned well, guessed right, timed it right, chose a good director, etc.

This might not fly at your company if you’re a slave to the quarterly conference call with the board and have to explain that you’re failing. But if you’re a small to midsize marketer – you’ll never spend money any more wisely than by failing and KNOWING what to avoid in the future.

Point/Counterpoint: Who should set the marketing budget – the client or the agency?

Nader Ashway marketingthingy blog post image - who sets the marketing budget

Okay, so I’m borrowing from Saturday Night Live’s classic sub-skit featuring Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd.  But it’s the only way I think we can easily platform this complex topic for debate.  For you legal eagles out there, copyrights appear at the end of this post.

Who should set the marketing budget – the agency or the marketer?  This seems to be the question that plagues marketing relationships – especially between small and midsize marketers and smaller agencies.  On the broader scale, it’s pretty easy…larger marketers (and/or public companies) tend to stipulate their budgets way out front, and use previous years’ spend as a barometer, which can be tracked on resources like Adviews, a subscription-based tool from Nielsen. Generally, most of that spend is earmarked for media anyway.

But with smaller/midsize companies and smaller/midsize agencies, it seems that the budget dance is a tricky little two-step, and no one seems to know who should lead.  Let’s explore both scenarios and see which one makes the most sense for you.  Your opinions are invited!

Jane:  The agency should set the budget.
Buying marketing services is similar to buying any other services from any other vendor.  That being the case, you want to get the most bang for the buck.  So you invite a couple of agencies in, set up the goals for the upcoming year (or the project or initiative) and ask them to come back with a proposal that sets out a budget, a timeline, and what they expect they’ll achieve.

The agencies come back with proposals about what they think the marketer should be doing (building a microsite, running an outdoor campaign, running a sweepstakes, maybe,) and what they want to charge you for that. So the benefit is that you – the marketer –  do get to see a variety of thoughtful approaches to your marketing, as each agency will make different types of suggestions and usually prepare very fancy presentation materials!

As far as costs, an agency will typically include management fees, creative fees and expenses for out-of-pocket costs, like media, some third party add-ons, printing, postage, web development, etc.

This is the best way to do it.  I’m not telling what the agency to spend – they can tell me what they want, and I’ll choose from there. Agencies know what things cost, they know what they need to make to be profitable, and they know what I want.  Why should I tell them I have $100,000 to spend this quarter if they can deliver it at $75,000?  I have to be responsible with my budget.

Dan:  The marketer should set the budget.
Jane, you ignorant slut.  Everyone knows that if you ask an agency to set the budget, they’ll come back with a number you can’t afford, that includes every possible marketing incarnation from social to mobile to telepathic or whatever.

Or worse, they’ll suggest an over-inflated, over-reaching grandiose plan that includes tons of media that they can commission at double digits, and tons of dopey ideas like flash mobs and street teams and who knows what else.  [Not that these are bad ideas, but when there are no boundaries, some agencies like to frolic in the fields on your dime.]

If marketers want to get an equal assessment of how an agency can perform, the best way to do that is to quantify specific parameters:

using X dollars, and in Y time frame, what do you suggest to help us meet objective Z? 

Using this simple formula, or expanding it to a more detailed RFP, you will get presentations from agencies that are focused, that demonstrate their core capabilities and that usually have an ROI component attached.  But without stipulating dollars, you’ll never quite be comparing the presentations on an equal footing.

Marketers, YOU know what your goals are.
Not the agency.
You know what your operational expenses are to sell a product or service.
Not the agency.
You know what your board of directors or shareholders want to accomplish.
Not the agency.
You know what you have to spend to get there.
So why ask the agency to tell you?

So.  What do YOU think?  Should the agency tell you what to spend, or should you ask an agency what they’ll do with your budget? 

“Point/Counterpoint” is intellectual property:  a sub-skit of “Weekend Update.” “Weekend Update” is part of a comedy program called “Saturday Night Live,” created by Lorne Michaels; originally written by Chevy Chase and Herb Sargent. © 1975 Broadway Video/SNL Studios.