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Talent, the future of pitching, M&A trends and more: our editors’ picks at Agencies4Growth

Speakers at this year’s Agencies4Growth hail from Genie, SevenSix Agency, Talenthouse and more

Agencies4Growth festival opened its virtual doors today, kicking off a five-day agenda with sessions on the future of remote work and guidance for employers implementing HR policies regarding menopause, as well as a panel exclusive to The Drum Plus members on tackling microaggressions in the workplace.

The festival features speakers from around the world and looks to provide solutions to the most pressing challenges facing both agency leaders and staff.

For a limited time, all content is free to watch – from September 20-25 it can be streamed from the festival website. Members of The Drum Plus will continue to have access once the week ends.

Eager to dig in? The Drum’s three global editors have selected their favorites from the week’s sessions to start you off. Read on to learn more or visit the festival website for a full list of speakers and session titles.

What agencies need to do to attract talent right now

Kenneth Hein, US editor

The big quit! The great resignation! Oh, so many colorful names for a very competitive talent market. Of course, this phenomenon is not unique to adland, but there are some challenges specific to the advertising industry. Things got pretty lean last year but now, for many, the money is pouring in from clients who want to play catch-up when it comes to sales lost during lockdown.

So, what can the advertising industry do to staff up and attract top talent while at the same time retaining their best people? To answer those questions and more, The Drum has pulled together an A-list panel offering some candid thoughts about the current situation.

We have Claude Silver, chief heart officer, VaynerMedia; Celeste Bell, head of HR/executive vice-president, Deutsch NY; and Liz Zea, partner, Juel Talent Group. Each portrays the realities of today’s market, offers predictions for the future and delivers one insight that all viewers can action immediately.

Register to watch the full session here.

M&A trends

Charlotte McEleny, APAC publisher

The resounding message from the M&A trends panel is that great agencies are in demand at the moment. With an influx of private equity buyers, and new agency groups growing and challenging the holding companies, the M&A market has never sounded more vibrant.

Both SI Partners director Hattie Marsden and S4Capital chief growth officer and executive director Scott Spirit have two of the best perspectives in this space as they are active in a lot of the activity from the past 18 months.

It’s also a truly positive story for agency entrepreneurs, and this panel also shares the story of a very recent acquisition through Vuki Vujasinovic, founder of Sling & Stone, who announced he’d sold his company just the day before joining the panel. His insights, as fresh as they can be, are valuable to any agency owner that’s looking at options for growth and funding.

Register to watch the full session here.

Will the pitch process change post-pandemic?

Cameron Clarke, editor

Born out of necessity, virtual pitches became the norm overnight in advertising during 2020 and have endured in many parts of the world throughout this year. But as we begin to emerge – at least in some regions – from our pandemic paralysis, will virtual pitches remain dominant, or will we return to face-to-face presentations?

Some, longing to return to how things were, lament the loss of the human touch and say virtual pitches are no substitute for the chemistry created by the real thing. But others point out that working remotely cuts out needless travel and puts the emphasis on the substance of the pitch instead of the spectacle.

In this session, we’ll hear the essential arguments for and against, and find out how the pitch model for the uncertain months ahead is likely to take shape. It features a range of agency leaders: Jamie Willey, head of new business and marketing at Tribal London; Jenn Szekely, managing partner USA at Coley Porter Bell; Ali Dawkins, business director at BrandOpus; and Monika Holod, chief executive officer and founder of Wangie.

Register to watch the full session here.

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