Steve Farella CEO, Maxxcom Global Media and Targetcast TCM, started his career in the “Mad Men” era at Benton and Bowles with the P&G, GM, and BMW accounts. In my interview with him, Steve takes an agency-centric look at the industry -- an area of great change as digital and creative opportunities expand and consumer behavior can be quantified on more and more platforms. Steve talks about his plans for Maxxcom, creating a modern model of an ad agency, the future of ad agencies and the media in general.
Click here to view the videos of the interview. Below is an excerpt:
CW: Can you talk about some of your future plans for Maxxcom?
SF: Yes. Maxxcom Global Media is what we are calling a modern media modell compared to the others out there in the marketplace. We are not just one big agency. We are five agencies that are collaborating together. We are independent and entrepreneurial. Our agencies are Targetcast, IMS, R.J. Palmer, Doner Media Operation and The Media Kitchen. In addition to those five agencies we have many media companies that fall in or under or around Maxxcom Global Media: media companies like Varick Media Management, like Trade X, Attention -- which is our social media offering -- and Andretti Sports Marketing. What we see for the future is a unique offering in the marketplace: taking one of our lead agencies and creating a customized offering for our clients and our prospects. Some clients like social media, some clients like television, some clients like digital. We mix a lot of those together, but by creating a unique blend of our offerings, we think that we could be distinctive in the marketplace.
CW: Does each agency have a specific role to play in your corporate landscape?
SF: Yes. Every one of our agencies is a full-service agency, but every one of them has a different flavor. IMS is more of a performance marketing agency. It has its roots in direct marketing but it is looking at all kinds of performance: what we are doing in media and how it is benefiting the client sales, brand, and so on. RJ Palmer is a full-service agency doing everything from soup to nuts, but here we have straight to national broadcast and that has made RJ Palmer famous. Targetcast TCM is a modern agency built about 10 years ago. We believe it is well balanced both in broadcast television traditional, digital and building websites, and doing social media. Everybody knows Media Kitchen. It is innovative. It is digitally forward. And Doners Media Operation is terrific on a standalone basis, but when a client is looking for media that is integrated into a creative agency.
CW: In looking at the agency world when you first started in the “Mad Men” era, compared to the agency world today, how has it evolved?
SF: Frankly, I think the answer is the same. Whether back when I started or today, in order to be successful you have to be a student of the business, you have to be very, very curious. So whether the evolution of cable or the evolution of digital, the evolution of two way-interaction, you need to understand and be really curious about “what would happen.” What would happen if we place the message here? What would happen if we interacted with the client? What would happen if our message was greater than 30 seconds? Success is driven by curiosity and being a student of the business and not so much about identifying traditional things like demographics and target audiences.