Agencies Facing Their Own Fears
Earlier this week at the 4As Decisions 2020 conference in Washington, DC the major ad agency and Holding Company heads were virtually unanimous about concerns over the direction of their industry. For better or worse the agency sector has matured into a legacy model that is both commoditized and stuck in its ways. For proof of this all you have to do is look into some of the recent agency review wins, where the selected AORs dropped their service fees so low to win the business that it hardly seems worth landing in the first place.
As a result of this trend, agency leaders are speaking openly about their fears and a growing need to transform their business. Here are a few quotables from the conference, compliments of AdExchanger:
- “Any time we decouple a conversation about media from the channels where that media lives, we’re commoditizing media,” said Jodi Robinson, president at Digitas North America. “Clients keep asking media agencies about cheap media instead of elevating the conversation to the value we create.”
- “We’ve allowed it to become static and inertia has set in,” said Christina Meringolo, VP of consumer engagement at Bayer. “This is a pivotal moment for agencies to become much more agile in how they’re servicing clients.”
- “We are too passive,” said Nick Brien, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network in North America. “We are slow to change. We’re too incremental. We have legacy structures with legacy mentalities, behaviors, relationships and P&Ls.”
Sobering words to be sure. As the saying goes, admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Now the question becomes what will the agency leaders do about it.