Maxus worldwide CEO Lindsay Pattison: ‘As an industry, we need to up our game to shift perceptions’ | M&M Global

Maxus worldwide CEO Lindsay Pattison: ‘As an industry, we need to up our game to shift perceptions’

The pace of change in media has never been greater, so agencies must adapt accordingly, writes Lindsay Pattison, worldwide CEO at Maxus.

Lindsay Pattison

The velocity of change in media is faster than ever, so our model has to be agile and adaptable. It is an incredibly exciting time for agencies; we’re offering so much beyond buying spots and now play a key strategic role in driving clients’ success.

It’s a significant contribution, and has created competition between the leading global agencies, so we’re changing the way we present our brand, our insights and campaign data.

To stay ahead, we need to challenge ourselves to consistently improve the ways we engage with our clients. It’s also crucial that we attract and retain the best talent, spend time and effort ensuring our agency brand is well managed, and positively differentiate the Maxus brand in a cluttered global marketplace.

As an industry, we need to up our game to shift perceptions. Consider this year’s Cannes Lions – 92.5% of the shortlisted media entries were from creative agencies. Either we’re not presenting our assets properly or not putting the same effort into awards entries that we do with our work.

Ultimately, the evolution in our sector is compelling agencies to make changes for all the right reasons, because there’s never been a better time to be in this industry.

Programmatic impact

Programmatic has had an exciting impact. Whether we’re talking about Oculus Rift, Twitter or drones, digital and tech have the power to bring brands and consumers closer together. The reams of data we can now access offer us ways to deliver more targeted, meaningful messaging and reduced ad wastage – meaning better results for clients.

Programmatic has the potential to deliver a significant and long-term impact on the media industry – as soon as clients get past any initial anxieties around it.

To succeed, agencies and agency holding companies have had to make significant investments in technology and build partnerships with large and innovative tech companies. We’ve had to adapt recruiting and training to meet the demand for new skill sets – looking forward, the challenge for agencies will be to employ programmatic trading skills to buy traditional media such as TV and radio.

Change is the new normal so we hire to reflect and embrace this – our people have to be agile in both skills and attitude.

Staying relevant

We have always positioned ourselves at the centre of the always-on digital world – and with digital now a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’, we’re fully equipped with the best talent and infrastructure to service future-facing clients.

We’re now, and should aim to always be, the focal-point from which we can manage the increasing number of players – from technology providers to digital and creative agencies – needed to meet a client’s needs. Collaboration is absolutely central to our offer.

The glue binding this eco-system together is consumer data. The ever increasing amount of consumer data is providing one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges to agencies in the last decade. Success or failure depends largely on how we apply meaning to this data, and how we use tech to manage and optimise our media investment to deliver outcomes, not outputs.

To remain relevant in the long-term, we will maintain our position of trusted advisor to our clients.

Changing relationships

The old rules of the tri-parite arrangement are changing in this new world. Who is a media owner, and who is a technology platform? The distinction is becoming less and less clear. For clients, the old norms of who does what are also potentially up for grabs.

That said, it’s still very clear to me how these three parties should behave in order to deliver best value for our clients. It’s an old rule but a good one – ‘collaboration is key’.

If you look at Cannes Lions, M&M Global or local effectiveness awards – the best work is often the result of tremendous collaboration between a client, agency or agencies and select media owners or technologies. This should always be the case, in my view.

Biggest trends

Massive changes in consumer behaviour have already shaken up the media industry and many agencies’ business models. People are becoming ever more selective about how, when and where they consume content. This will trigger the rise of over-the-top (OTT) services, so the BBC model will come under increasing threat, as will bundled subscription-based models.

As audiences migrate further still from the traditional scheduled world, the medium becomes as important as the message. We need to strike the balance between comms that are relevant, useful, and unobtrusive – being mindful of the value exchange as consumers offer up their personal data to access content.

Finally, while ‘net neutrality’ can’t be described as a trend, any legal changes made by world leaders next year could turn out to have a huge impact on the ways in which consumers find, access and consume content. Our job is to interpret the seismic changes currently happening and guide clients through them.

For much more analysis of the biggest trends shaping global media and marketing, order your FREE copy of M&M Global presents: International Media 2015 here

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