For Media Shops The Mission's The Same, While The Landscape Keeps Changing

For media agencies, Job One is what it always has been -- optimizing client media spending. But doing so is much more complex in today’s landscape compared to 20 years ago, when media shops were first being spun off from full-service agencies.

The marketing landscape is “far more chaotic” now, said Dominic Proctor, president GroupM Global, who in a session with Omnicom Media Group CEO Daryl Simm (moderated by MediaLink’s Wenda Harris Millard) shared thoughts on the past present and future of the media agency business.

Not surprisingly, both executives say the services their companies provide will continue to be in great demand. “They need our advice,” Proctor said of clients. “We see the whole picture -- the entire marketing landscape.”

Programmatic platforms add more tools to help client and agencies target audiences more precisely at potentially better prices. But such platforms also come with questions that are still being sorted out, said Simm. One issue is finding the right balance between short-term lift and long-term brand building. “It’s a challenge,” said Simm.



As to talent, Proctor cited a major industry-wide problem without an easy solution -- Adland continues to pay lower entry-level salaries than other industries, creating a disincentive for people starting their careers. The reason: “We haven’t found a way to re-engineer our balance sheets to be a first port of call,” said Proctor.

Simm agreed that collaboration was critical in today’s environment. “Consumers are driving change,” he said. “What we’re doing is following their general behavior. That requires a different level of collaboration among agency people and clients and client leadership is needed.”

Asked how the business needs to change, Simm replied that at both the company and industry levels, its needs to show a greater degree of “confidence and gravitas.”

Proctor added that the media agency business needs to better market itself. “We’re better at marketing for others than we are our own product,” he said. “We need to properly explain the real value of unbundling.”

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