IPG's Roth: Industry Woes 'Overblown'

Interpublic Group's Michael Roth says agencies have to be able to transition to provide meaningful value to clients, in comments during the AdExchanger Industry Preview last week.

Roth acknowledged that the big six holding companies continue to undergo pressure from many external factors, including clients facing extra scrutiny from shareholders to cut back on spending as well as trust and transparency concerns.

Clients are looking at efficiencies, Roth stated. He said that 8% of IPG's business is from CPG clients whose recent travails and marketing budget cutbacks have been widely reported.

Still, a lot of things happening within the industry are overblown, Roth asserted.  "The market doesn't give us credit" but "we have to prove it… The one thing you need is content,” says Roth. "You need to communicate relevant messages and it takes creativity to do that."



Roth's biggest pain point with programmatic is viewability. It is frustrating to explain to clients that they aren't getting what they paid for, he says. "Transparency is a key word in media business." He sees an "inherent conflict" in holding companies taking an economic interest in platforms where they advise clients to invest in inventory. "Even if you disclose it, it has the appearance of conflict."

Despite the continued entrance of consultancy shops, like Accenture and IBM, Roth says IPG has only competed with them on an isolated basis. "They do something different than we do." Plus, IPG prevails when they face off against one another. McDonald's, for instance, selected IPG's Huge over Accenture to handle global digital design and experience work.

Roth says "the more the merrier" when it comes to new entrants like Amazon -- despite the fact the conglomerate is another "walled garden" akin to Facebook or Google. "Reach is good for our business," he says. 

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