Agencies may benefit from pursuing greater collaboration on various issues of importance to the industry, such as pushing for data transparency, changing remuneration models, and creating more flexible workforces.

Tim Castree, GroupM’s CEO/North America, discussed this subject at the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) 2019 Decisions 20/20 Conference.

And in the face of rising competition from consultants – and questions of trustworthiness that have been raised, not always fairly, against the industry – he suggested that agencies should move beyond the conceptual realm and drive actual change.

“I think it’s also time for us to drill down a little bit and pick the two, three, or four things [where] we can make an impact and make a difference [by working] together,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: GroupM North America chief encourages agencies to fight back and rebuild consumer trust.)

One example involves data – both in terms of making this information accessible and ensuring there is true transparency. “We have to bring productivity across platforms and channels,” said Castree.

If such a transformation is going to happen, agencies will need to be at the forefront. “Let’s face it, that is not going be driven by the publisher’s side,” he added.

Moreover, he continued, “In the absence of our leadership on this issue as an industry, then of course individual publishers are going to want to collect their own data solutions and their own attribution solutions.”

A second area of potential industry collaboration involves the system of remuneration, which frequently is based on the full-time equivalent (FTE) model that charges a client based on the number of hours staff members dedicate to a project.

“As we are lined up today, we are disincentivised for creative efficiency in our core business,” Castree said. “But this FTE model still drives what we do. We need a lot more collaboration and coordination in that area.”

“We have to radically increase our agility,” the GroupM executive further argued, especially as more brands experiment with in-housing – a trend that, according to Castree, often is actually “third-party on-siteing with the original agency.

“If we were able to free up more and more mobile workforces – with people operating at different locations, giving them support, and then scaling back – they would be able to come up with better long-term, durable solutions for on-siteing,” he said. “In which cases, both the agency and the client prosper.”

Sourced from WARC