What's the Biggest Challenge Facing the Modern Media Organization?

MediaWorks Asks Four Media Agency CEOs

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JOE UVA, President-CEO, OMD Worldwide:
The challenge is trying to find new and better ways to measure and understand human behavior. How can we
Joe Uva
capitalize on that knowledge through business models that make more sense than the ones we currently employ? Understand that I am not criticizing the upfront process.

I'm not saying it will change or suggesting it will change. I'm talking about a whole range of issues that everyone has to deal with -- everything from digital-rights management to questions of who are the gatekeepers for consumers and who are their aggregators and how do they get paid in the future?

The biggest challenge is to keep adapting to the changing environment and changing client demands. This is obvious. If we do not remain relevant, we will collapse. Now that media agencies have earned a better position in the hierarchy, and now that our market is largely consolidated, it is imperative that we don't get complacent. Good service companies anticipate change and sometimes cause it.

Dominic Procter
So, we need to accelerate our position in content, all around the world, because that is where brands and consumers increasingly will meet. This will be tricky and not without failures along the way.

We need to accelerate our position in all forms of digital, mobile, direct, one-to-one communications. That is the future. We need to anticipate the day when the Internet becomes the world's most important medium, even if it doesn't.

We need to continue to deliver the crucial foundation of brilliant execution and implementation. Without that foundation, there is no house to build. Our agencies must be differentiated, despite having similar ambitions. Otherwise they will be less valued and dull. And we need to do this globally, truly integrated with real glue. Should be fun!

The first thing that comes to mind is attracting and retaining top talent. How do we grow, nurture, train

Charlie Rutman
and retain the next generation of superstars? Where are the new sources of talent? Why would great thinkers, risk takers, innovators want to work in the agency business? I believe this is the biggest challenge facing our sector today.

There is, in fact, a major contradiction in the media industry today. On the one hand, it's never been more exciting -- new technologies, new measurement techniques, greater dependence and requirements for media connections to consumers. But on the other hand, the agency business has never been more difficult --declining margins, slow growth, difficulties in differentiating one agency from another, high rates of turnover at clients, and so on. And to those people who want to take a shot at changing the way business is done, my e-mail address is [email protected]

Mark Rosenthal
It's reinventing the media agency right now for 2010 and beyond and moving the agency from providing media services to providing holistic marketing services. That's where we're going to have to be. I don't think it's sufficient to be about buying efficiently and cheaply. That was the mantra of the '90s. It's now about being a true navigator and marketing partner for your clients in a way that redefines creativity.
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