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The disintegration of integration - and five other observations about how agency models are changing

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By Diane Young, Co-founder

June 4, 2013 | 3 min read

Recommended Agency Register director Diane Young shares some insight from the US on the changing nature of the agency business.

RAR director Diane Young

I was in New York earlier this month because I’d been invited to attend the Mirren New Business Conference to hear about the latest trends in how agencies are getting new business.

After 20 hours of speakers and panel discussions over two days, six key themes emerged for me:

• Agencies are having an identity crisis – lots want to be integrated (probably because they are trying to work out how to hold on to increasingly fragmented budgets) but big clients are looking for the best specialists

• Purchasing models are changing – procurement is getting increasingly involved, changing the appointment process as it does, and adding a whole new layer of relationships to manage

• Terms of engagement are changing – agency of record or roster arrangements are increasingly being replaced by project-based appointments, making it much more difficult for agencies to project their income

• There’s a shake-up of remuneration models – some agencies want skin in the game, some clients refuse while others still are trying to use performance-related measures to replace basic remuneration

• Clients are wielding their spending power in new ways – with some big clients pushing the boundaries of payment terms to 120 days, other clients are sure to follow, leaving agencies in the unenviable position of bank-rolling their clients’ businesses

• There’s a crisis of creative talent – finding, nurturing, rewarding and keeping must be a focus for agencies

So over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be writing about some of the interesting things that I saw and heard in the States. First off tomorrow, my take on a presentation by Jordan Zimmerman of Zimmerman Advertising in Florida.

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