Top search consultants meet in LA looking for insight on the changing nature of the ad industry and its vibrant ecosystem of agencies.c
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By: Bruno Gralpois, Co-Founder/Principal, Agency Mania Solutions
April 24, 2019 –
In the American thriller “Searching,” by Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, a father searches for his daughter in a movie set solely on computer screens and smartphones. The movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2018, is a financial success, generating 75 times more in revenue than it cost to produce, and shows that how we consume content in this digital era has profoundly changed.
The discipline of advertising has naturally adapted to this new reality and agencies have built new muscles to support brand advertisers in reaching computer- and smartphone-savvy audiences. Yet, how agencies have responded to this profound industry transformation continues to vary significantly: where they invest, what talent they bring in, how they organize their offering, what services they offer, what their narrative is, and how they support clients.
This is why AdForum, which provides a global searchable tool including over 20,000 agencies across multiple disciplines and a collection of more than 200,000 creative ad campaigns, also holds bi-annual summits in selected cities across the globe, where agencies host capabilities presentations and showcase their vision. At this year’s AdForum Worldwide Summit in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to lead a group discussion with search consultants from around the world (US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, South Africa, Denmark, etc.) about current challenges and solutions when embarking on an agency search and what trends are powering the agency search of the future. LA was a great pick for this summit as it is at the crossroads of creativity, content, and entertainment, where they intersect to shape new engaging consumer experiences.
I kicked off the discussion by sharing a summary of key expectations in the marketing C-suite, a synthesis of various CMO studies and reports and their implications on their relationships with agencies. These expectations can be grouped into eight distinct categories: 1) tighter collaboration and alignment, 2) cost-effective content production, 3) talent in data, analytics, and measurement, 4) streamlined, agile, nimble engagements, 5) strategic insight and advisory, 6) output-oriented focus, 7) learning, adapting, leading through change, 8) transparency/trust & accountability.
The group then shared some of its key observations based on geographical focus:
Hervé de Clerck, Founder of AdForum, succinctly summarized what he heard from these recent agency meetings: 1) Big Holding is dead. Hello Smart Complementary Shops; 2) Big Data is dead. Hello, Data-driven Creativity; 3) Big Idea is dead. Hello, Entertaining Content, 4) Big Shooting is dead. Hello, On-site Productions.
The group discussion was held on the historic 90-year-old ship, the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California. You can easily imagine how excited travelers were to be boarding the Queen Mary for its maiden voyage on May 27, 1936. The British masterpiece was a symbolic location to discuss the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, as well as the evolution of the agency search practice that so brilliantly enables it.