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Scope of Work Process & Optimizing Spend: Scope of Work Management Series, Part 1



Why is the Scope of Work Process So Important?

A well-controlled Scope of Work program is an integral part of a robust framework for planning and communication between client and agency. 

As with other professional services categories the Scope of Work process is becoming ever more important in managing marketing spend. A well-controlled Scope of Work program is an integral part of a robust framework for planning and communication between client and agency.

The Scope of Work / Scope of Service process generates a wide range of benefits.

  • It allows the client to accurately define the expected outcomes, service and work that are to be performed. And, just as importantly, it articulates what work will not be performed.
  • This provides the agency with a clear way in which to review the projected workload and priorities. The agency can use this to suggest the appropriate resources that should be applied to fulfill the  work.
  • Finally it provides procurement and finance departments a lens with which to view the fees in a balanced and appropriate manner.

Getting the Right Team on your Scope of Work

The key outputs of the agency are driven by talented and creative people applying their skills to produce deliverables across a range of initiatives and projects. But with all the current discussion on how the agency should be paid, it is easy to lose sight of why the agency is being paid and for what. Indeed by viewing your SOW program as a core strategic driver in your marketing organization, centralizing, standardizing and streamlining the processes around it will provide dramatic improvements in both supply management efficiency and marketing effectiveness.

One of the clearest messages heard from leading advertisers is that the objective for a better SOW and compensation process is not to reduce the actual amount of money that is going out the door. Indeed for most enterprises, marketing spend is seen as an investment in growth rather than a cost center. So the primary driver is normally to ensure optimal spend of the allotted budget.

“I want to make sure that the right team is working on the right business at the right time”.

In this message there are two aspects to consider.

  • First, defining what the right business and right time are—this is the responsibility of the client.
  • Second,  defining the right team—this is the responsibility of the agency.

For new business, a well-defined SOW makes sure that an agency that has just won a new account keeps appropriate focus after the pitch process.

“This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in contractual relationships. The service providers nominate the cream of their resources (The A Team) in their offers, and when the relationship is formed, the B Team walks in!”

Equally, another common misconception around the “right team” is that this means the agency needs to apply its most experienced (and most expensive) resources to every part of the client’s business.

Download our Scope of Work Whitepaper