There seem to be a number of players from overseas, not necessarily the traditional holding companies, looking to make moves in the U.S.
There are also some performance-only agencies out there that have made some some pretty good traction [such as PMG]. Also You and Mr. Jones [now Brandtech Group], and the stuff that [Martin] Sorrell is doing.
They handle one slice of the pie. Performance is really important. I like to think of it as brand-formance. The clients want both brand and performance. And our clients want more of an integrated solution. That's the song that we're singing in terms of integration of where the world is going because I don't think it's one or the other.
We've had three clients now in the last year where we didn't win the business. And each one of them now has come back to us. We're about to win one of them. One of them changed their mind and came back to us. And the third just reached out and said we want to talk to you guys, which we find fascinating.
Can you tell me more about some of these pickups?
This year, BlueTriton, Live Nation, Kohl’s, Lionsgate, Glanbia, Noom, Impossible Foods. We’ve had some real positive momentum.
The fact of life is procurement, mandatory reviews. That’s the world that we live in. Consultants are constantly knocking on clients’ doors saying, “Hey, you know it’s time to take a look.” That’s the bad side of the business, because to me magic happens when you build long-term relationships and trust. And I know there’s a big fiduciary responsibility. Do not take that for granted. So, you know, do some auditing, which clients should do. But [be aware of] the amount of effort and time it takes to re-educate an agency and partners, and the disruption and the change.
This piece of business that left us a little while ago, my understanding is, it’s a disaster. And we knew it was going to be a disaster. And it’s unfortunate. I’m big on building 10-, 15-, 20-year relationships. Unfortunately, as you know, a CMO doesn’t last that long.
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How else do you see dynamics of client-agency relationships changing?
As you know, more business has moved in-house to clients. It’s interesting that some is moving back out of house. Today there’s much more shared responsibility. We’re working with a client right now who’s doing everything in-house and we are co-collaborators on almost everything they’re doing, including co-negotiation of deals.
With the recent slowing or decline of revenue for some of the big digital players, what’s behind that and where do you think the money is going?
I think we're seeing a huge shift to the retail networks. One, that's absolutely where the money is moving—the Walmarts, the Costcos, the Amazons—the fact that you're right at the point of purchase, at the time of purchase. They're getting a lot more sophisticated with their own data, with the ability to optimize on those platforms, which you haven't had before. We've got a proprietary tool that we're using for that, and we're seeing more and more dollars move to the retail networks. And I think the platforms are taking the brunt of that.
I also think that if you look at all streaming capability, AVOD supported capability, that's got to be sucking money away from Google and YouTube and probably Amazon as well.
I think money has absolutely shifted into more diverse audiences, which is terrific. I loved [Procter & Gamble Co.’ Chief Brand Officer] Marc Pritchard’s comment that this shouldn't be [about multicultural and general market] anymore. It's all a general market. When you think about [TelevisaUnivision’s] increase in share, BET’s increase, and Byron Allen's money is coming from someplace.
So you put you put those pieces together, that's sucking the money away.
How much concern do you see from clients about recession, and how are they planning for it?
It's not just recession. It’s also inflation, supply chain, consumer behavior. And when I talk about consumer behavior—wants and needs of consumers are changing. As pocketbooks get squeezed, consumers have to make choices. In the past, I'll give you a perfect example, vacation might be a want. In today's stressful world, vacation is actually a need. So they're trading certain wants and needs in terms of how they spend their disposable income. Understanding messaging in that environment, I think is critical as well.
I think clients are extremely concerned. I was at a conference two weeks ago with 10 of the top global CMOs in the world, a small group of people, and we all went around the room, about about what's going on in the world. And to a person, each one of them said, if you think you know what the future is holding, you're crazy. Nobody knows. None of them know. So I think that uncertainty is creating extreme anxiety, and with that is coming, I would say, a lot of scenario planning.