Publicis Groupe launches money-back guarantee to marketers

Publicis Groupe has unveiled a new service that promises marketers a complete refund if it fails to meet agreed performance targets for campaigns.

The new service, called The Pact, will guarantee to deliver against an agreed set of KPIs - such as sales, customer acquisitions and return on digital marketing investment - or refund to the client 100 percent of the agency fee and media spend.

The Pact will be powered by Epsilon, the data company acquired by Publicis in a $4.4 billion deal last year, and will initially target US mid-sized businesses with revenues between £10m and $1bn. Carla Serrano, the CEO of Publicis New York and CSO of Publicis Groupe, said one in four leaders of mid-sized businesses fear they will be less effective at mitigating the COVID-19 crisis because of increased pressure on cash and working capital and they don’t have the levels and guarantees that any investment right now will deliver results. "We can now take any risk out of that investment for them," Serrano said.

Arthur Sadoun, the chief executive of Publicis Groupe, said the aim was to partner with clients to maximize their return on their advertising spend through the current COVID-19 crisis and to ensure these businesses were ready to accelerate when recovery comes. "When we bought Epsilon we were already thinking about how we could work with clients to guarantee outcomes, using Epsilon’s data and the scale that we have in media," Sadoun said. "Our plan was to launch this product this summer but when we saw this crisis was accelerating it was clear that some clients really need this service right now."

Sadoun said that The Pact is not just designed to attract new clients but will also be offered to existing clients. "We’re not afraid of cannibalizing our existing business because right now what matters most to us is helping our clients get through this crisis and trust us for the future. If that means cannibalizing part of our existing revenue it’s fine, as long as we are with them in the storm."

Bryan Kennedy, the CEO of Epsilon, said that Epsilon’s CORE ID identity management platform serves as the backbone for The Pact AI models that self-learn and re-write themselves every second, using billions of digital contextual signals to deliver rich audiences, dynamic creative and one-to-one personalization at scale.

"Epsilon is focused on data driven accountable performance-based marketing, but the significant shift in digital behaviors that we are seeing as a result of social distancing and lockdowns has increased digital touchpoints by more than 20 percent, making our service an even more powerful, precise source for consumer understanding and personalization at scale, Kennedy said." He added that the service had already been tested with some clients and he was confident that The Pact would deliver on agreed KPIs at least 95 percent of the time.

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