DM, digital triumph in Govt rethink

Direct and digital marketing will get the lion’s share of spend in the Government’s new advertising framework – outlined this week in a tender – with up to £360m of the proposed £520m four-year budget going on DM techniques.
The budget compares favourably to the COI’s direct and relationship marketing spend, which under the leadership of Marc Michaels was about £60m a year, but there is one big difference – it will have to stretch much further.
Agencies on the new roster will be expected to work across all government departments, including the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Defence and Department of Health, as well as other public corporations such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Royal Mail. Previously these all had their own separate budgets.
According to the tender, posted by the Government Procurement Service (GPS), the framework has been divided into five categories: creative services such as TV ads and sponsorship, direct marketing, digital marketing, PR, and contact centre services.
Just four agencies will work on the DM account, worth up to £160m, while six will be appointed to handle digital, worth up to £120m. Meanwhile, four firms will share the contact centre business, worth up to £80m over the four years.
At its height, the Government spent upwards of £400m on advertising and marketing, and although the new £130m a year budget represents a near 66% cut on that figure, it could actually be lower.
The Cabinet Office insists this is a “potential maximum amount only” and that it is looking for the “most economically advantageous tender”.
A spokesman said: “Last year, central government saved a staggering £390m from freezing all marketing spend except when operationally necessary, on top of the £400m saved from this in 2010/11. We are now on the hunt for the best talent out there as we look to spend in a more strategic and coordinated way. We want to develop more communications partnerships with commercial and voluntary sectors and get more value for money through rock-solid evaluation of what works best. We are now open for business to all kinds of innovative suppliers and entrepreneurs – whatever their size, whatever their business model.”
The deadline for applications is 2pm on September 19.

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