Breakout Session Notes -- The Three Sides -- Agency

Please see this post for the background and disclaimer.

Here's the straight poop from Rob Griffin of MediaContacts, table leader and notetaker extraordinaire...

Agencies, Engines, and Clients

• Engines are tech companies learning to be media companies and as a result self service is expected and proposals are often generic or push new non-search products. This forces agencies to redo or rethink proposals. This is important as search matures as a media because it will increasingly be expected that service levels will match display. This is the agencies job but the job is that much harder because we are not aligned.

• To improve relationship, engines need to change how they are incentivized and move away from the check box approach and organize around clients not regions and products.

• The engines also need to provide more and better data and data that is much more current (clients want this to put into context their efforts). This wont come till they are aligned at the client level. this is also important as Google has a vision of a user never seeing the same SERP twice, so transparency and data will be key. This is also true of the non-search products that get recommended with no supporting data on reach, performance estimates, margin, and impact on other programs.

• These changes will help better align around what's right for the client. The group felt this will also improve communication on the engine's side so they know what's going on elsewhere in their organization.

• This change also needs to happen to a degree on the agency side, especially those of us in holding companies with varied PNLs across search, display, trad media, and creative.

• There was an idea of on the agency side having a Google, for example, expert, similar to how the engines have agency leads that are supposed to know everything about the agency. If the agency had this person they would be able to provide better insight for the agency and clients as to why Google is recommending something or not for that matter. This was intriguing to group as the consensus was that the current challenges wont change anytime soon.

• That said the group did admit the engines for the most part are trying and relationships are decent, its just going that extra mile. Google and Ask particularly versus Yahoo struggle to partner with agencies with big ideas. Yahoo wins here due to display background and they know how to be a media company.

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