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Media Agencies Urged to Return to Glory Days of Don Draper

Marketing Trends Summary: Over the past six months at least twenty major US advertisers have called reviews of their media agencies, with a total of $25bn up for grabs.

Some observers assume that this trend is primarily driven by cost-cutting, while others believe it reflects transparency issues, and others suggest that it's a kind of Rorschach inkblot test. According to one senior media agency executive responsible for driving change and innovation at a major media shop, the trend signals that its clients are  ... 

... facing the most profound, rapid changes they've ever known, despite which their agencies are blithely ignoring clients' needs and relying on their past performance.

However, not all media shops are similarly blinkered.

According to one senior media agency executive: "Our role as media agencies should become more ambitious - to move from helping our clients buy media to helping them solve business problems; to shift from facing the industry to facing real people; to become stewards through the uncertainty; to know what is changing and what is staying the same; and to unleash the power of new technology to transform our clients' businesses."

"Things have never been so fast before, but will never be so slow again -- from changing TV viewing habits, to apps that explode and die in weeks, to real-time marketing."

"Clients want to know what's next, what is dead, what is changing, and even more importantly, what isn't and how can they test and learn to maximise what they have learned and reduce risk.

"This calls for agencies to operate in a fundamentally different way - to keep their finger on the pulse, be agile and ready to change. Agencies need to be structured differently, to operate with an entrepreneurial culture and to employ new talent to keep a view on what lies ahead."

Which, of course, harks back in time to the Don Draper era when ad agencies handled every aspect of their client's accounts, from strategy planning and creative through to media evaluation and buying. 

Read the original unabridged article.

[Estimated timeframe:Q2 2015 onward]

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