For Agency CEOs:Three Challenges To Overcome To Thrive

In the words of Rishad Tobaccowala
by Todd Knutson

carrotMarketing is understanding and meeting customer requirements. In order to survive, companies must meet their requirements; technology is going to allow agencies to understand customers' requirements; and, new marketing tools will allow us to meet them. So argued the cerebral Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo Group, at the 4As conference in San Francisco.

Here are his thoughts on how ad agencies can thrive in the next ten years:

To meet customer requirements, ad agencies must first overcome three challenges - internally and then ultimately with your clients:

1. The future does not fit in the containers of the past.

In other words, you have to think differently. Consider...

  • Digital linkages are changing the way we do everything, and will continue to do so.
  • Your people are analog - they operate based on feelings. The biggest driver - your incentive plan.
Show me your incentives and I will show you what will happen.
  • Lack of speed kills. The biggest impediment to speed is your organizational structure. Push decision-making down to the lowest levels possible in the organization (see # 2).

2. Talent Scales.

  • Top companies are fixated on talent, passionate about talent. All companies have to be that way if they are going to thrive.
  • To create a renaissance in marketing and advertising, we need to hire builders - talented younger people who want to create something.
  • Incentive systems typically incent seniority; don't forget to incent your builders or they will build elsewhere.
  • Builders will embrace accountability - if it aligns with what they want to do.
  • Builders want skin in the game - a purpose for being there.
Understanding and meeting customer requirements = purpose.

3. "Us" the leaders.

Your people are curious about where you're going to take them. Do you know? Do they know?

  • Audacity and dreams make a difference. They attract builders.
  • If you want to know your culture, talk to the people at the bottom of the organizational chart; they may tell you if they trust you.

As CEOs, getting it right inside your agency will position you to meet the ever-changing needs of your clients.

 

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