NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- MediaLink today will announce that Bernhard Glock is joining the company as a senior partner working with its strategic advisory and marketing practices divisions. Mr. Glock, who was most recently running his own consultancy, worked with Procter & Gamble until September of 2009 as its VP-global media and communication, and VP-global media purchases.
"P&G has long been legendary for its pioneering approach to media and marketing, and Bernhard is among those most responsible for its stellar reputation," said Michael Kassan, chairman-CEO of MediaLink. "He is a consummate pro with an extraordinary base of experience. And we want to bring in people who have actually done the work, like Bernard. So when we approach a problem on organization restructurings, corporate communications or media reviews and media benchmarking, our various practice areas are led and staffed by people who have done work in the space. Just imagine when we do a benchmarking on best practices and compensation with large marketers to have the benefit of him being there."
Mr. Glock, who joined P&G in1985, is credited with establishing many of the marketer's best practices for media purchasing and marketing communications and was among the first to integrate purchasing into media negotiations. Mr. Glock and his new boss, Mr. Kassan, recently spoke with Ad Age about his joining MediaLink, what type of work Mr. Glock will be undertaking and the evolving relationship between media agencies and marketers.
Ad Age: Why make the jump to MediaLink after being on your own for a few years?
Mr. Glock: It is not necessarily a jump. It's the next step in the evolution of my career. When I left P&G I had a fantastic time with my own company and clients and being independent. So for me it was not a question of coming back to a big marketer or agency, for me it was a question of where can I use my skills best on a team of like-mined people. MediaLink was a perfect fit in terms of what Michael does with his team and what I wanted to do in the future.
Ad Age: What will the job entail?
Mr. Kassan: Bernard will be a senior partner in MediaLink and run the media practice as a primary focus. But he will touch many areas within MediaLink like our executive search division and the emerging media space where Bernard has developed quite a point of view.
Ad Age: There were a lot of huge media reviews this past year and a lot of business switched hands. What do you see as some of the major challenges/issues between marketer/media agency? And what are some of the possible steps to resolving these issues and
Mr. Kassan: We're at an inflection point in the industry that really evolves around changing up the conversation between agency and clients and getting the conversation to the right place. It's not just around compensation models and KPIs. Agencies are still dealing with whether or not they are being marginalized or disintermediated, and we believe very strongly that there is a role for the agency and that role is getting redefined. Those are the problems we are dealing with daily for agencies. We do get involved in agency therapy. I always thought that if there's a sick agency there's probably a little bit of a sick client as well. And that sort of agency therapy role is becoming more and more of a necessity today.
Mr. Glock: "Agility" is an important word because today's world is very dynamic, fast-changing and that means that speed is everything. What clients look for is the increase in effectiveness and efficiency, better return, more integration and better communications and engagement with consumers.
Ad Age: How do you see these relationships evolving over the next year or so?
Mr. Glock: Every single agency asks where are we heading to in the future. And while it would be premature to define what the future will look like it is absolutely critical that marketing partners stay agile and adjust to provide superior value in the way they help clients communicate with consumers.
Ad Age: How are these new business reviews changing? Are they more intense than they used to be and how does procurement impact the mood of the room?
Mr. Kassan: I wouldn't say there is more tension but there is more discipline. I try to drive home to clients that sourcing and procurement teams can bring more discipline to the process because the marketing side wants the accountability that can refined by procurement and sourcing folks. You don't look at the media business the same way you look at buying pencils. The tension was starting to come from demanding more services and wanting to pay less for it and demanding more expertise across multiple platforms and unwilling to pay a fair price for it. There is a fine line that needs to be navigated between better process and discipline. Friction can be negative but also positive. A certain amount of positive friction injected into a relationship can be a good thing if it's handled properly. And there is more focus from clients on not wanting to see a new business pitch team. Agencies have to bring the people who will directly work on the business. You can't get away with just bringing in a new business pitch team anymore.
Mr. Glock: I was in procurement at P&G before I left. Procurement is great at being rigorous in the way they approach reviews. Agencies willing to embrace those concepts of discipline, rigor and strict processes are well-established to deal with this new world and it will lead to better results. So we are well-advised to embrace procurement thinking and understand and embed it into our thinking.
Ad Age: Is the media agency/client relationship more delicate than the client/creative agency relationship?
Mr. Kassan: No. I still think you have clients in many factions who look at marketing partners as split and unbundled. The marketers who are internally bundling are doing a better job. If the client brings all the shops together the better results you get. I know that screams for re-bundling but there's a new type of bundling. I don't see media agencies folding back into creative agencies and I don't believe in that. Directionally, we need agencies closer together because many times where the client will give deeper strategy insights to their creative shops than media agencies and will tend to treat them a bit more precious, which is a throwback to "Mad Men." More and more, marketers are realizing they have to be just as precious with their media agencies because if you want to get really creative and strategic you have to share the same level of insights with all of your shops.
Mr. Bernard: If media agencies do a good job they have a huge advantage as a lot of their activities are clear, results oriented and clearly measurable. The marketing world is becoming more complex than it has ever been and agencies moving to a more independent siloed-style of thinking are taking the wrong approach. Agencies need to get closer together either under one roof or via collaboration to master the complexity out there because not one can do it all.