Carat president Doug Ray: ‘Technology is an enabler, not a replacement for what we do’ | M&M Global

Carat president Doug Ray: ‘Technology is an enabler, not a replacement for what we do’

M&M Global chats to Carat global president Doug Ray talks about how media industry has evolved in the face of burgeoning technology.

Doug Ray

“It’s interesting because I sit on your side, interviewing folk – and one of the questions I ask particularly of publishers, media owners and editors is ‘Is data helping or disrupting the creative process?’” Ray says.

“I think the consensus is that data and technology is actually enhancing the creative process. It’s not going to take over the creative process and people are inherently creative. We need to keep focused on the fact that technology is an enabler, it’s not a replacement for what we do.”

Reflecting on the past half-year, Ray said that while the first quarter was a “a little slow from a new business standpoint”, the second quarter “kicked off with a bang”.

“They’re calling it ‘pitch palooza’ and we’ve been able to continue the momentum that we’ve had for a couple of years”.

Those last two years have seen Carat react to the changing media landscape.

“We’ve had a couple of initiatives we launched in the first half of the year ensuring we stay very focused on the idea of redefining media as an agency and that we are consistently reinventing ourselves and challenging our legacy models, challenging the status quo.”

Ray also explained how changes to the landscape had probably sparked the raft of recent client-media reviews.

“I think it’s just a matter of looking at the agencies and making sure they do have the agencies that are fit for purpose and are future-proof,” he says.

While he argues that the issue of transparency is not really a motivator for the reviews he does think that transparency will be an ongoing discussion between agencies and clients.

“It’s certainly something that agencies are going to have to come to terms with in terms of how they are going to address that,” he adds.

“For us it’s very clear in terms of how we handle transparency and the way that we deal with it with clients as well. We’re very clear about that in our contracts with clients and I think our clients are comfortable with that.”

Finally, today’s need for a new legacy-busting agency model requires a new talent pool, Ray claims, and that means that the arm of recruitment must extend its reach.

“[We’re] needing data analysts, needing mathematicians, needing creative people – these are all areas that historically media planning and buying agencies have been much more focused on the acquisition, the planning and buying of media. And now there are far more capabilities that are required in an agency.”

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