Newsbreak: Agencies Showcase Shifts in Thinking at CEO Summit hosted by AdForum

By Deborah Malone – The Internationalist

Pictured here are:Paul Philips, AAR (UK); Avi Dan, Avidan Strategies (US); Herve de Clerck, AdForum; Philippe Paget, AdForum; Loula Zaklama, Rada (Egypt) and Bernard Petit, Scan International (France)

This week’s activities in New York underscore two distinct trends now occurring at the core of the advertising business.

  1. Advertising agencies — whether global networks, creative boutiques, or specialist shops for digital strategy or media solutions — are indeed changing the way they think about marketing in a recently re-set economic world where our digital age has re-shaped consumer behavior.
  2. Agency Search Consultants now play a greater role in influencing how global marketers allocate their budgets across an expanding mosaic of agency services.

The 9th Annual CEO Summit is taking place this week throughout New York City, organized by AdForum, the online marketing resource company that serves the creative information needs of advertisers and agencies around the globe. Ad leaders from Madison Avenue to Downtown Manhattan and from New York’s far Westside to the up-and-coming streets of Brooklyn are hosting 30+ agency management and search companies from four continents. These consultants represent more than 530 agency searches each year or the equivalent of $9 billion in billings from marketers around the globe looking to find agencies with the right chemistry for their needs.

While all agencies take new business very seriously, they now recognize the importance of communicating how they have adopted new strategies. For example, Miles Young, CEO of Ogilvy Worldwide shared how marketers today “don’t want to just see creative work; they want data capability.” This was critical to Ogilvy’s recent UPS win, which resulted in the “Logistics” campaign. According to Young, “UPS was as delighted with the live, real time UPS dashboard as they were with the creative work. These statistics were like giving them the Holy Grail.”

David Droga, Creative Chairman of Droga 5, the award-winning independent agency, shared how today it was important to be “creatively led, strategically driven, tech-friendly and humanity-obsessed.” He added that now it is “about points of excellence, not points of difference. We simply have to make a client’s business better.”

Jim Heekin, the CEO of Grey Global Group, shared how the company’s new concept of being “famously effective” catapulted the agency to a new level of winning creativity with accounts like E*Trade, Pantene, Cialis and Captain Morgan.

Despite the popularity of TV’s Madmen that glorifies the beginnings of advertising in a simpler — if not more elegant — consumer era, today’s agencies are unquestionably finding new ways to hone their best skills and drive results for clients. Yet many global marketers are finding that their best insurance in making the right agency decisions in today’s complex and specialized world is working with consultants who help them navigate the choices. AdForum’s CEO Summit continues through Thursday in an effort to share more visions, discover new strategies and uncover the next future trends.

The 9th Annual AdForum CEO Summit occurring this week throughout New York is providing an extraordinary overview of agency thinking as nearly two dozen agencies

By Deborah Malone – The Internationalist

Annual AdForum CEO Summit occurring this week throughout New York is providing an extraordinary overview of agency thinking as nearly two dozen agencies — ;from global networks to independents and specialists — present their views of a changing marketplace and how their companies are responding with better client solutions. Designed to help agency management consultants from all corners of the world better recognize the expanded roles agencies now play for marketers, the week offers a dizzying array of ideas and new thinking.

Two particular themes are becoming clear: 1. New levels of collaboration are often becoming a driving force behind a brand’s success today and 2. Sophisticated problem-solving tools are increasingly at the heart of differentiation in a modern marketing world.

WPP’s Team Detroit, an aggressive concept on the team process initiated by Ford, is transforming today’s agency model. In fact, it may be a 21st century equivalent of an original full-service agency concept. With one leader and one global P&L, Team Detroit views some of the top brands in advertising as its “shareholders:’ JWT, Y&R, Ogilvy, Wunderman, Mindshare and MEC. In addition to picking up two Effies for Ford this year (after a 12-year drought), Team Detroit has now extended beyond Ford as sole client to win Johnson Controls, Ohio Arts, Compuware, Scott’s Miracle Gro, and Sport Authority.

WPP’s work with clients like Kimberly Clark (North America) and Colgate (global) are also demonstrating new levels of team collaboration with single P&Ls that are transforming the WPP culture. Not only does a brand-focused approach create deeper relationships at the client level, but it builds sales. According to Carol Hartman, Global Client Leader of Kimberly Clark, “the science of Shopper Marketing may not be as hot as digital.”

Another view of collaboration is embodied by MDC Partners — now ranked as the industry’s #5 holding company. Just a year-and-a-half old, MDC is comprised of 50 mid-sized agencies doing business with global clients. Almost half of its revenues come from the digital space.

Pictured here are: Herve de Clerck, AdForum and organizer of the Annual Agency CEO Summit; Faris Yakob, Chief Innovation Officer, MDC Partners and David Porzio, Chief of Staff, MDC Partners

Ad Forum

[Adforum Worldwide Summit] Value and costs

Day five of the Adforum CEO Summit in NYC started taking about value and ended talking about costs. It demonstrates the huge gap that still exists between procurement, marketers and agencies, if not on an intellectual level, certainly an emotional one.

The morning was meeting with agencies Creative Realities International and Arnold. Though as one of the new generation, I am not sure CRI would consider itself an agency, with an approach to using design and technology to create compelling customer experiences. This is in contract to Arnold, an agency of more than more than six decades’ experience, which creates great work that works. Both talk different paths and approaches to the same destination, delivering results and creating value for their clients.

In the afternoon the focus turned to the increasing role of procurement in the marketing category. Usually when people think of procurement, the focus is on cost reduction, and this is certainly a key focus with a recent ANA Survey showing that 68% of procurement respondents report to finance, accounting, sourcing or supply chain management.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Report also showed that, while 73% of marketers and 74% of agencies felt that procurement met or exceeded expectations in cost savings, only 54% of marketers and 23% of agencies felt the same about their role in process improvement.

With regards to seeing marketing as an expense to be reduced or an investment to be optimised, while 97% of procurement believe they see marketing and an investment, only 56% of marketers and only 26% of agencies agree with them.

The issue is not the role of procurement in marketing, as that is a given. The issue is the way all parties work together. Earlier this week the comment was made at WPP that efficiency and effectiveness should go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other. Procurement is focused on delivering efficiency and agencies are focused on effectiveness. In between are the marketers who will never want efficiency without effectiveness and that is where the balance lies.

For more, continue to check back on this blog or check out #adforumceosummit on Twitter for frequent updates.

[Adforum Worldwide Summit] A day of more

Day four of the AdForum CEO Summit in NYC was a day of more. Not just more time in the bus travelling from agency to agency, and not just more eating and drinking and talking with more agencies, thought there was that. The agency meetings are definitely showing that the industry is about MORE. Doing MORE, influencing MORE, co-ordinating MORE and controlling MORE.

If the agencies are right, 2010 will be a year when agencies re-establish their capabilities and influence across all parts of the marketing mix. With the established agency networks heavily investing in specialist disciplines, especially retail activation to cover the “last 10 yards” or specialist segments such as marketing to children, multicultural segments such as the Hispanic and Islamic communities or vertically up into product/service innovation and down into all aspect of digital production.

The great variable is the approach the various agencies are taking.

While the emphasis on the IDEA is common to all, the interpretation of what is the IDEA varies. As quoted by one agency, who maintained it is not an agency, “Most agencies will say they are in the ideas business, but they are really in the communications business”.

With Hakuhodo Tokyo’s Gold Lion this year for K’s Japan “Smash”, a guitar that is designed to be destroyed, clearly agency ideas are moving beyond communications to products to position brands.

Meanwhile, the established networks and agencies have developed approaches to streamline the marketing communications process through collaboration and management of their various areas, divisions and specialist companies.

There was even a company which was established purely to develop and produce creative technology ideas for brands, other agencies and of course the consumer.

But the sum of all these investments, developments and efforts is that the industry is looking to provide marketers with more of what they want in the way that they want it.

The question is, are the marketers ready to pay for it as we come out of the financial crisis of the past two years?

For more, continue to check back on this blog or check out #adforumceosummit on Twitter for frequent updates.

Agencies Focus on Problem-Solving and New Collaboration as they Redefine their Roles

The 9th Annual AdForum CEO Summit occurring this week throughout New York is providing an extraordinary overview of agency thinking as nearly two dozen agencies—from global networks to independents and specialists—present their views of a changing marketplace and how their companies are responding with better client solutions.  Designed to help agency management consultants from all corners of the world better recognize the expanded roles agencies now play for marketers, the week offers a dizzying array of ideas and new thinking.

Two particular themes are becoming clear:  1. New levels of collaboration are often becoming a driving force behind a brand’s success today and 2. Sophisticated problem-solving tools are increasingly at the heart of differentiation in a modern marketing world.

WPP’s Team Detroit, an aggressive concept on the team process initiated by Ford, is transforming today’s agency model.  In fact, it may be a 21st century equivalent of an original full-service agency concept.  With one leader and one global P&L, Team Detroit views some of the top brands in advertising as its “shareholders:” JWT, Y&R, Ogilvy, Wunderman, Mindshare and MEC.  In addition to picking up two Effies for Ford this year (after a 12-year drought), Team Detroit has now extended beyond Ford as sole client to win Johnson Controls, Ohio Arts, Compuware, Scott’s Miracle Gro, and Sport Authority.

WPP’s work with clients like Kimberly Clark (North America) and Colgate (global) are also demonstrating new levels of team collaboration with single P&Ls that are transforming the WPP culture.  Not only does a brand-focused approach create deeper relationships at the client level, but it builds sales. According to Carol Hartman, Global Client Leader of Kimberly Clark, “the science of Shopper Marketing may not be as hot as digital.”

Another view of collaboration is embodied by MDC Partners– now ranked as the industry’s #5 holding company.  Just a year-and-a-half old, MDC is comprised of 50 mid-sized agencies doing business with global clients. Almost half of its revenues come from the digital space.

MORE

MDC says that its concept is built for today’s marketplace where clients are demanding more digital expertise and the kind of great talent that still has the founder’s name on the door.  Its agencies focus on collaboration with other shops; it is their way of solving problems in a world they don’t believe that “big” is a benefit.  Among some of its headline agencies are Crispin Porter + Bogusky and the Media Kitchen.

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