What to Expect in Agency Financial Management This Year
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April 4, 2019: The advertising industry has always been a resourceful community where its many participants share best practices and openly discuss challenges that get in the way of prosperity and effective collaboration. I’ve been privileged to attend many events over the years while on the client side, and now as a cloud-based provider of agency management solutions. The one event that has always be close to my heart is the ANA AFM conference. It’s a great place to learn about what’s hot in the industry, see what’s trending, get a glimpse of what the future might look like, hear those willing to share what they are doing in agency financial management, and have the opportunity to catch up with lifelong friends and colleagues. If you’ve attended one of these events in the past, either as a client, agency, or service provider, you will notice that our industry is so dynamic that yesterday’s agency or service provider might be tomorrow’s client. People move around but they always seem to come back to this event to catch up or reconnect. It’s a sort of a family, sometimes dysfunctional, sometimes unorthodox, but as with any family, it’s a good place to feel right at home.
This year’s ANA AFM conference is taking place starting April 28 in Phoenix, one of its popular destinations. There is nothing like being in the desert to feel the heat of issues like the future of advertising and agency compensation, not surprisingly the first topics on the conference agenda. Thankfully, the various cocktail receptions will help cool everyone off and keep attendees hydrated. Every year, the ANA conducts its assessment of agency compensation practices and trends, offering the opportunity for many advertisers to compare their own practices to the rest of the industry. Agency compensation is always a central topic, as it is often controversial – advertisers and agencies rarely agree on what is considered “fair” or “reasonable.” The growth of digital and programmatic has had significant impact on how agencies and clients approach compensation and payments. Other adjacent topics like measuring ROI, transparency, and the evolution of procurement will also take center stage.
The CMO keynote will be presented by Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Mastercard and recently acknowledged WFA Global Marketer of the Year. The role CMOs play in setting up the right partnerships with their agencies, finding the right balance between being fiscally accountable to their organization and being supportive of their agency partners by compensating them fairly and competitively, is increasingly important. Rajamannar will be joined by big hitters from Dell, Charles Schwab, Microsoft, Target, Visa, Farmers Insurance, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Anheuser-Busch, InterContinental Hotels Group, Walmart Inc., SunTrust Banks, Constellation Brands, J&J, Hershey Company, and others willing to grab a mic and share their perspective on what works and what doesn’t in this fascinating space.
Be ready to learn about how to create better scopes, how to have a more holistic approach to production, how to go from “supplier” to “partnership” management, and whether an “in-house” agency is something you should consider. Be ready to hear from well-respected thought leaders like Dana Anderson of MediaLink, Carl Johnson of Anomaly, Jillian Gibbs of APR, and Tom Morton of R/GA about the transformation our industry is going through and what the concept of “partnership” between agencies and advertisers should be in years to come if we are to create sustained value and collaboration in the ecosystem. Be ready to say hello to Bob Liodice and Bill Duggan of the ANA who will guide the narrative for the event based on their vast membership feedback gathered over 100+ years. Be ready to say goodbye to 4A’s Executive Vice President, Agency Management Services Tom Finneran, an industry veteran who is soon retiring after dedicating a career to promoting healthier relationships between advertisers and agencies. Finally, be ready to meet both new and seasoned conference attendees and a vast and vibrant group of service providers that allow the ecosystem to work more effectively and productively. What I personally love about this industry is how incredibly fluid and dynamic it is. So be ready but expect the unexpected as well. The Agency Mania Solutions team looks forward to another great event as attendees, of course, but also as a proud sponsor this year. In the end, we get what we put in.