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Are Media Agencies Ready for Convergence?

MediaWorks Goes Right to the Top to Find Out

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Digital media -- pretty much on an hourly basis these days -- seems to throw out a new way to disrupt the traditional pathways to the consumer. MediaWorks checked in with top executives at the media agencies to find out if they feel ready to deliver their clients' messages to today's wired consumers.

Yesterday, we shared the answers from Starcom MediaVest, Initiative and Universal McCann. Here's what the powers at Carat, PHD and MediaCom said when we asked them how ready is your agency for the convergence of digital and traditional media?

David Verklin
David Verklin
David Verklin, CEO, Carat Americas; chairman, Carat Asia Pacific:
"Are we ready for convergence? Gracious, I hope so -- but there is no finish line in sight. The media business is changing faster than even the most nimble amongst us can change their organizations. What business are we all in? We would argue that we are in the navigation and guidance business. Carat's job is to guide our clients through the myriad of options and to help them navigate through the fantastic opportunities that are now available to them. It's exciting and scary at the same time. The best insurance policy is to hire extraordinarily bright people, to train them, to give them the best tools to work with, to pay them a fair wage, to empower them to adapt, to encourage innovation and most of all, to make sure that they are led by people that they respect. What a moment it is to be in the advertising industry."

Matt Seiler
Matt Seiler
Matt Seiler, president, PHD U.S.: "Convergence happens in the person, not in a process or gadget. We realize that people have been interacting differently with various media for some time, and we know that this will continue to happen. Sure, it's a constantly changing environment but if we understand the person, and his behaviors, then we can see this flux as being an expansion of our palette. The flux isn't something we 'handle,' it's something we take advantage of. It accounts for the recent proliferation of media canvases."

Russ Booth
Russ Booth
Russ Booth, director-analytic insights, MediaCom:
"It isn't about convergence -- convergence is a twisting of wires. It is about 'consilience,' the blending of disciplines and the creation of a completely new practice with different rules. Think biotech. It isn't biology and it isn't technology. It is a new discipline building upon two distinctly different sciences. We are ready for consilience. We are creating cross-platform resources that holistically track consumer channel use and accurately attribute success/influence and synergies."
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