There's no question that agencies, marketers and clients alike are driving toward integration. The challenge is finding the right people to navigate the course.
"People who were relevant five or 10 years ago are not relevant today if they haven't kept themselves current with all of the technology," said Daniel Morel, chairman-CEO of WPP Group-owned Young & Rubicam's Wunderman Worldwide. "We're looking for truly well-rounded, business-minded individuals."
Digitas, which many industry insiders consider to be one of the few agencies successfully delivering integrated marketing to clients, recruits and develops four categories of employees: marketing technology experts; channel operations specialists; creatives; and relationship managers.
The latter are the most critical and the hardest to find, said David Kenny, chairman-CEO of Digitas. They are "senior people who run each [client] relationship. ... They have to be general managers and understand the economics of a client's business-that you have to save money and gain market share simultaneously."
The link between business strategy and marketing is clear and agencies are fighting to become full partners with their clients.
"For agencies to take a step up the food chain, they're going to have to be able to do a whole set of things that are traditionally consulting-like exercises," said Chris Lederer, partner at Helios Consulting, adding that simply building consulting departments within agencies is not the answer. "I don't think agencies should go hire the MBA stereotype-the bean-counter accountant. They need to hire somebody who marries the marketing skill-set with some of the strategic and analytic skill-sets."
Consultant-turned-agency head Mark Hodes, managing director of WPP's OgilvyOne, Chicago, agrees that a good job candidate is someone "who understands the key economic metrics that the boardroom looks at, and is able to translate that data into successful marketing programs."
IMC grads, for one, understand these economics, recognizing that integrated marketing is the "commitment to measurable results," said John Greening, VP-director of client services at Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, and an associate professor at IMC.