Holding Cos. CEOs: What Must Change

It’s not every day that you get to see John Wren, Michael Roth, and Sir Martin Sorrell on stage together. At least I don’t. One thing’s for certain, when you do see them together you’ll realize there’s no shortage of ego on stage!

These three are smart guys, and as I expected, after listening to them recently I came away with ideas that apply to most ad agencies. And, as new business is always tied to the strength of the agency, if you implement their recommendations, you’ll impact your new business effort.

Recommendations for agencies from The Big Three:

  • Keep pace with new technology and new media
  • Spend more on attracting and retaining talent
  • Use data and analytics to generate consumer insights
  • Focus on your people
  • Reflect your market in the diversity of your team
  • Implement a compensation model that reflects where the growth (new business) is, with financial incentives to match, and accountability

As you can imagine, when asked about agency-client relationships, they had lots of opinions. I thought the best were four things clients can do better:

  1. Praise more, express appreciation
  2. Encourage your agency to take more risks
  3. Don’t try to take the last $5 out of my pocket
  4. If you kick your agency like a dog, you won’t get good work

I’m sure you can add a few more to this list, but this is a good start.


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