Look Ahead 2013

Three Agency Trends for 2013

Expect Slow Payments, Focus on Global Planning and Consolidation

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Happy New Year. Now get cracking: We outline challenges for 2013 and offer up some predictions

Number 1

Slow payments from clients is the new reality

We're hearing that cash-strapped clients are looking for extensions on payment terms from their agencies -- to 60 days from 30 days, in some cases to 90 days from 60 days, and in very, very rare cases to as much as 120 days. It's part of what adland execs say is a reality when it comes to marketers choosing agency partners. Today, it's not only about the caliber of creative work or strategic thinking but the financial circumstances an agency is willing to accept. It's not great for agencies, however it's the reality in 2013.

Global planning becomes focus for big marketers

This past year, Unilever appointed Omnicom's PHD as its lead global planning agency, and Kraft spinoff Mondelez doled out a similar planning brief as part of a larger media-agency review. The emphasis on big global strategy, rather than regional planning, will continue as clients -- largely marketers with global brands -- aim to create efficiencies and global consistency across promotional platforms.

Commonwealth board members Washington Olivetto, Jeff Goodby, Prasoon Joshi and Linus Karlsson.
Commonwealth board members Washington Olivetto, Jeff Goodby, Prasoon Joshi and Linus Karlsson.

As a result, agencies are investing in new tools and resources that support not just paid strategy, but also incorporate owned and earned tactics (For example, Omnicom's PHD launched a global planning tool called Source). The behavior is in large part a result of the globalization of brands and media companies, and deals between the agency-marketer team and the big global players such as Google, Microsoft , YouTube and Facebook.

Consolidation: full speed ahead

Once again, 2012 was a big year for acquisitions in adland with sizable deals such as WPP's purchase of AKQA and Publicis Groupe 's buy of LBi and Rokkan. The soon-to-close Aegis-Dentsu deal sets a new precedent for ad-holding company mergers. Rumors persist of Interpublic Group of Cos. weighing a sale to Publicis Groupe , while our crystal ball finds that other sleepy players -- such as digital companies and smaller networks -- will become more acquisitive and begin building out new footprints around the globe, giving the traditional holding companies a run for their money.

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