In an exclusive interview with M&M, Michael Roth, global CEO for IPG revealed how the likes of Google no longer see taking dollars from media agencies as the Holy Grail, and that working in partnership with agencies is now a much better proposition.
“Essentially Google is an outlet for us, a source of data if you like, that allows us to help provide the most efficient routes to market for our clients. Google,
Facebook, Twitter are all outlets who can only encourage clients to use their services, which is why we add value to the equation,” explains Roth.
“We have to be able to provide that neutral source of where client’s money should be spent.”
Summer of pitches
On the subject of spending and clients this summer has seen a record number of global client reviews and pitches – 18 at the final count – and Roth believes this is partly down to advertisers’ annual reviews, but also the fact that they are constantly looking for a new way of thinking in this evolving media market.
“Clients are making sure they have the right partners and the right thinking, and once one big company does it the other brands decide they should do it. It then catches fire and the pitches increase,” adds Roth.
At the time of going to press IPG’s agencies had successfully retained it’s business with J&J and won Coca Cola, so this summer could well be deemed a success.
Roth adds: “The key, you won’t be surprised to hear, is to be focused on retaining your existing clients, and then to pick and choose the key opportunities you think will benefit both you and the client.
“If I can keep everything we have during the review and add something on top I will be very happy.
“Today it is important to ensure you get the data, analytics, creative, content and reach delivered as one package and not in silos, while cost is always an issue, but you don’t get to talk cost unless you have the analytics.”
Another issue that is certainly playing a part in the ‘summer of pitches’ is transparency.
“The issue of transparency is not driving pitches, but if you asked me if that was an issue then it is certainly up there,” says Roth.
It has clearly been a busy summer and alongside the above the holding companies that can deliver scale are always an attractive proposition, particularly those that boast excellent resources and talent. It could almost be described as a bloody summer battleground that has yielded a number of interesting results.
On IPG’s ability to scale Roth believes that the company is now outperforming its peers with its competitive offerings.
“We don’t have to be the biggest, but we have competitive offerings across the board in the US, APAC and the UK and that means we have a seat at the table and are asked to participate in global pitches,” reveals Roth.
Key trends and insights
As part of this offering Roth is acutely aware of the growing influence of mobile and content, and how this will help shape the way brands reach the right consumers at the right time. However, he also revealed the industry is getting to grips with how best to communicate with consumers via mobile.
“Mobile is the new frontier and it is certainly the place to be, but the industry is still getting its feet wet in how it communicates with consumers via the mobile phone,” he says.
“It’s now about drilling down to relationships with consumers and what the story is in terms of the relationship with the brand. That is where the action is going to be, mobile and content.”
This is now starting to shape the advertising spend of clients as the disconnect between budgets being spent on mobile and the time spent on the devices by consumers begins to close, and it all contributes to an interesting global media landscape that Roth is convinced is key to delivering a global vision is talent.
Talent is key
“Talent and making sure all of your talent shares the same vision and is working towards the same goals and not working in silos, while becoming client centric are the essential tools to succeed now,” reveals Roth.
In terms of delivering this it is important to ensure the right talent is in place, but this is a tough task in its own right as the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter all have a certain allure about them, but Roth is adamant that however appealing they seem they cannot offer the same experiences and points of difference that agencies can.
And looking ahead to 2016 Roth is convinced the advertising and communication business is what will be driving the industry, and that holding companies will only get stronger.