4A's And ANA Play Blame Game Over Dearth of Agency Talent

There's a heated debate going on between 4A's President Nancy Hill and Association of National Advertisers' Bob Liodice. After Hill penned a piece for CMO Today on why ad agencies are starved for talent in which she argued that agency pay is much lower -- particularly for entry-level positions, because clients don't pay enough -- than other industries, particularly tech, Liodice shot back, claiming it's the inefficient agency business model that's causing the problem. Hill writes: "Extended payment terms, unreasonable indemnification clauses, incentive plans that don’t incentivize, FTE negotiations on hours in a year all add up to a system that is broken." Liodice counters, saying agencies don't do enough to recruit the right people and, once they do, they don't offer the necessary training to retain that talent. Liodice also points out that the estimated sales and earnings growth of agencies is far more robust than that of brands, prompting one to wonder why agencies -- which appear to be financially healthy -- can't pay more for talent.

In case you were wondering, there are four types of digital agencies. At least according to Propane Studio CEO Neil Chaudart, who has taken it upon himself to categorize digital agencies for us. First, he says there's the "digital campaign agency" -- which is basically just a traditional agency that comes up with big, emotionally moving ideas. He explains: "Digital campaign agencies push these ideas out to all digital channels with the intention of luring users back to a central hub or destination: It's the 'big idea' that hooks them in." Next is the "integrated marketing digital agency" -- which is less about developing the big idea and more about tactics such as SEO, SEM, mobile, email and other executions designed to drive traffic to a particular destination by using data, analytics and marketing automation platforms. Third is the "digital solutions agency" which goes beyond the big idea and gets down and dirty with the development of CMS systems, sales portals, inventory management and custom software development with a marketing focus. And finally, there's the "DX agency" -- which is all about creating that pervasive aura of customer experience "and utilizes human psychology to create solutions that, when combined, activate a strong, steady pull towards the brand." Sort of like a cultish religion, if there were such a thing in the ad agency world.

Content marketing is all the rage now, right? Everyone's doing it. Everyone has something to say about it. And everyone wants to provide it as a service. Even media agencies. You know, those folks who take deep dives into data in order to decide where the ads should go? Yeah -- not too a big a leap. At least according to Starcom UK MediaVest Group Co-Chief Executive Steve Parker who argues in MediaWeek that media agencies are, in fact, perfectly capable of doing content marketing. Parker argues that the role of media has always been about delivering the right content to the right person in the right context. Furthermore, he adds: "While everyone else has been debating who owns content marketing, we have been building a team of more than 60 diverse specialists who use data to understand what content a consumer wants and take responsibility for creating, curating, delivering and optimizing that experience." Hmm, sounds quite logical to me.

Boston-based PJA Advertising and education organization College Bound Dorchester is out with 3 Syllable Boston, a game that asks players to solve 20 puzzles to see how well they know Boston. Players are asked questions about where the Boston Marathon ends, where the city parties on July 4th, Fenway Park trivia and more. But the catch is that all the answers are just three syllables long. Which sort of helps with the guessing. It's all to "promote fun, optimism and goodwill citywide.”
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1 comment about "4A's And ANA Play Blame Game Over Dearth of Agency Talent".
  1. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER , August 15, 2014 at 7:27 a.m.
    Mr. Liodice makes points that are demonstrable if true. The ANA members can all take their advertising in-house and see if Mr. Liodice's propositions are valid against the mirror of reality
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