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  2. 2. ABOUT SQUARED DATA The programme will provide aspiring analytics professionals with the skills they need to gain a competitive edge in the world of analytics and data driven innovation. The Squared Data Programme is part of the IDA’s Company- Led Training (CLT) Programme, an initiative which supports the industry in recruiting, mentoring and training entrant infocomm professionals in fast-growing technologies such as data and analytics; and mobile application development. From June 2014 to May 2015, Squared Data Programme will provide 20 Singaporean fresh graduates with intensive training in analytics, andgivethemtheopportunitytoworkwithinaSingaporemedia agency to gain hands-on experience. They will also receive mentoring from top industry talent throughout the programme. Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore and Google Inc.,. (2014). IDA and Google Collaborate on New Training Programme to Grow Singapore’s Analytics Talent. Retrieved from https://www. and-Google-Collaborate-on-New-Training-Programme-to-Grow- Singapores-Analytics-Talent
  3. 3. The Google Squared Data program gave us the unique opportunity to springboard into the media industry as data specialists, in the midst of the ‘big data’ hype. Across our agencies, the message is clear: Data-driven innovation is integral to the future of the industry, and agencies need to adapt to the changing landscape. Since then, we have gained perspective on how media agencies integrate data analytics into their services. More importantly, we want to look forward and identify opportunities where media agencies can leverage data capabilities. The articles that make up this report aim to identify the direction data analytics within the industry is headed, and provide actionable insights on how agencies can better maneuver in a data-driven ecosystem. As editors, we’ve taken the liberty to articulate three main considerations: WALKING THE TALK Selling a solution to clients’ business problems entails being able to package services and technologies into a cohesive whole that directly addresses needs at various stages of the analytics journey. It requires some discernable level of objectivity - “Is my agency my consultant who is helping me identify the best thing to do, or a vendor trying to sell me more products?” - and a willingness to share any potential risks of doing the best thing to do. Are your agencies willing to exhibit either? Whilst the new paradigm of the industry is that data analytics has huge revenue potential, perhaps more needs to be done to communicate that this potential holds true for the client as well. An agency that trusts its own capabilities to deliver value should strongly consider tagging its fees to the value delivered - communicating about data is more than just using business vocabulary, decks on revenue projections, and pretty Tableau dashboards. Once you prove that you are worth your while, you can quickly demand the premium you deserve; it’s an easy sell to clients who see clear revenue impact. Our first two articles, “Want Data to Make You Money?” and “Client-Agency Relations” explore these questions further. ACTUALLY VALUING YOUR HUMAN RESOURCE The dearth of skilled hires is a constant bugbear; to alleviate this, your agency should make a decision on the model of analytics operations if it hasn’t done so already: are specialist teams going to be set up, or is an integrated approach preferred? Even trialling a model is better than no decision. PREFACE: DATA ANALYTICS IS HERE TO STAY By Goh Tze Sam & Vicnan Pannirselvam
  4. 4. As we’re in the dark ages of sorts, help your recruiters by spelling out what specific skillsets are needed to deliver the data services you’ve imagined, not job titles. This is a period marked with somewhat vacuous designations, made worse by the very different realities of the different marketing activities that agencies are trying to claim as their own: media, creative, social media, event activations. These requirements should then be communicated to all affected stakeholders: everyone. This allows not just your recruiters to look out for the right people, but members of your teams to identify what they need to learn to remain relevant in their roles. Your organisation also needs to decide on if and how it is going to support this learning. Governments like Singapore’s have programmes for skills-upgrades via online learning programmes. Employers can support these training efforts via subsidies, and/or flexible work schedules to allow for the demands of part-time study, your agency would also be able to incentivise and support its team members by articulating how it would recognise these non-standard qualifications in its evaluation processes. How do you want to build the capabilities of your team? We hope that the articles “Data Talent in Media” and “Coping with the Data Deluge” would help frame the questions facing you. THE PLACE OF MEDIA AGENCIES Thesquabblingoverterritorybetweenagencies is compounded by clients fragmenting their budgets across a few parties. Like it or not, we need to get better at working together with each other. Are you willing to do that? Mediahaslongbeenthedomainexpertswhen it comes to data, but other stakeholders are becoming more educated. The smokescreen of jargon no longer is a defence, and all agencies need to identify how to cooperate honestly in good-faith. “Collaboration & Network” looks at a few ideas on doing this within your own network, for a start. Media agencies also need to clearly articulate their value add over ad-tech companies; this means they need to figure out what it is. “Ad Tech VS Agencies” would share some ways of defining these value propositions that would hopefully describe your agency’s experience. WHAT’S NEXT? It is both an exciting and intimidating time to be in the media industry, as the ‘big data’ wave has brought about significant changes across the industry. All agencies are taking decisive actions to integrate data analytics into their business to fulfil clients’ changing needs and also improve operational efficiency. It is encouraging to see similar sentiments and enthusiasm regarding data-driven innovation expressed across agencies. We hope that the articles put together will distil these opinions and thoughts into a clearer perspective on how data can and will be incorporated in the various functions of agencies, to benefit your clients and you.
  6. 6. 7 1 WANT DATA TO MAKE YOU M O N E Y ? Until recently, the picture was fuzzy at best. The data deluge made a previously unimaginable trove of information now widely accessible; it has advertisers trying to connect with consumers across a multitude of platforms. However, doing this involves teasing apart how ads work in concert across media and sales channels. One has to know how all the moving parts of a campaign collectively affects behaviour and drives revenue, as well as be able to predict what happens when they are adjusted. These capabilities represent the holy grail in marketing. Part of the grail is analytics. Once a back-of- the-house research function, it is becoming entwined in daily strategy development and operations. WANT CLIENTS TO SAY, “HOLY ****, I WANT THAT...”? Agencies have extensively implemented analytics as differentiator, a unique value proposition (UVP) for themselves. But clients want to know why analytics is relevant to them and to their business issues. Without this translation, such a UVP is just another point in a long droning credentials deck. “Agencies often sell analytics not as part of solution strategy, selling too many things as standalone that does not tie in to solve actual business problems.” - Harpreet Kaintel, CIO - APAC, ZenithOptimedia Group Don’t sell analytics, optimization, nor management sciences. Sell solutions to business problems. People don’t care what you call it if you can solve it, as articulated in the Selling Analytics panel discussion at INFORMS 2011. By Ezekiel Tee
  7. 7. 8 “Omniture doesn’t sell you analytics. They sell you a solution to your problem. And the bigger the problem they can solve, the more money they can charge. A good example of this is that they don’t help you with just your SEO or PPC needs; instead, they help you with your digital marketing strategy.” - Neil Patel, Cofounder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg Create buy-in by offering holistic business solutions by the integration of media buying and analytics services with consideration of client-specific business objectives. WANT CLIENTS TO FEEL, “YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME”? Clients often look to their agency partner as an objective third-party organization that looks at the bigger picture, understands global consumer trends, and provides the ultimate “outside-in” customer perspective. In short, clients want their agencies to provide both solutions to and perspectives on issues they can’t discover on their own. As such, analysis presented without actionable recommendations or plans for clients to follow up on leads to clients seeing less meaningful or relevant use for analytics services; it appears to add no tangible or visible business value for their business. To increase the chances of success, involve your customer in defining the “solution”; learn their language, their business, their challenges. “The most important thing is to tie everything back to revenue and cost involved. Understand the client’s business and how they make money because clients have to apply the recommendations to see the impact of data-driven insights.” - Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Sparkline Agencies offering analytics services have to actively address the client’s business objectives. Learning everything about the client – their business objectives, their challenges, their desire to intelligently use data – lets agencies function as extensions of the client itself. Agencies have to have a continuous sense of what is happening and serve up relevant insights to clients. WANT CLIENTS TO ASK, “TELL ME ABOUT…”? The use of “travel knowledge” - merely following how things have often been done in the past, is common among clients. Spearing through the complacency of using outmoded methods begins with awareness. It lines the difference between clients with skepticism and clients with belief. A client that is skeptical of analytics for whichever reason will not be convinced until those reasons are addressed.
  8. 8. 9 “It’s finding a way to put to the client that they need to do something that ironically is what they expect us to already be doing” - Raymond Au, Head of Analytics APAC, ZenithOptimedia Group Educate first and sell second. Educating clients helps drive up the demand for the product, which makes the job easier to get buy-in; this can be done through webinars, whitepapers, conferences, booths, and countless other forms of marketing. The important commonality between all the methods mentioned is that they involve collecting clients contact information so agency lead qualifiers can follow up with clients later on to figure out when clients are ready to buy-in. WANT CLIENTS TO DECLARE, “I BELIEVE YOU.”? Agencies can minimize risk for clients through demonstrating client-specific proof of concept. Upon seeing its value-addedness for the business, it is more probable a client would be willing to take up analytics. “It is important that we demonstrate the power of data and potential incremental ROI to clients otherwise how can we expect them to buy into the concept?” - James Parker, Client Solutions Director, Annalect Start with small problems that can become quick wins, to help establish credibility and trust, whether it be within the agency or with clients. Short-term success can breed long- term opportunities. Strongcasestudieshighlightingthebeforeand after effects of technology implementation increases validation of the product and shows that the product does what it is supposed to do. “Show value of analytics through baseline services or offerings to clients, then attempt to upsell once value-add of analytics is realized.” - Robin Wong, Global Head of Operations, GroupM Data and Analytics Services WANT CLIENTS TO RECOGNIZE, “WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER…”? In a cost-plus world that can bill in a cost- plus way, there is little incentive to reduce client cost, creating a perverse incentive to be inefficient. The cost-plus model incentivizes two predictable but toxic offsetting behaviors: clients seek to minimize rates and agencies seek to maximize charges. By sharing of risk, the agency has “skin in the game”. It then has a real incentive to achieve the clients’ objectives. This transparency fosters trust and confidence. ”If agencies really trust their data and optimisation skills, selling conversion optimisation with results-based billing would have huge impact on the clients’ end and really makes it concrete that marketing is an investment and not a cost, as client would only pay for results.” - Eero Aalto, Business Director, Digital Arts Network, TBWA The agency’s willingness to share the risk and to be compensated on a performance basis tends to cause, in the minds of clients and potential clients, the agency to be judged on merit rather than just size and name recognition. The agency then has a greater incentive to achieve what should be the
  9. 9. 10 ultimate goal - namely, to make money by fostering long-term relationships with clients. WANT CLIENTS TO ACT: “LET’S SIGN THE PAPERS…”? There is a plethora of benefits to doing analytics. To credibly communicate this message is paramount in the conversation to clients. “Agencies must have the right relationships at the necessary levels of their clients’ hierarchies. As with any subject matter, its importance will not percolate through the organization unless senior management ‘gets it’ and promotes it.” - Jonathan Edwards, Director - Analytics Data and Technology APAC, MEC Learn how to explain analytics to those who know their business but may not know the math, or to someone who took a linear programmingcourseincollege,ortosomeone who is astonished with the sum() feature in a spreadsheet. “There is an art, entirely complementary to the science, to making data (...) intuitive. Data specialists must ‘tune-in’ to planners’ and account managers’ appetite for data usage and the demands from other aspects of their roles.” - Jonathan Edwards, Director - Analytics Data and Technology APAC, MEC WHAT IS, NOW WAS... It is known that different clients have different needs. And that there is no single skeleton key solution that gets through to all clients. But it begins somewhere with: selling not analytics but a solution, involving clients in getting the solution, educating first and selling second, establishing credibility by starting small, sharing skin in the game and learning to explain analytics. Perhaps then, demonstrating and communicating the business impact of data activity to clients might just be lesser of a hurdle.
  11. 11. 13 In the data analytics industry, clients are often unclear on how they can monetize their own data, even in large companies with large sets of data. In fact, the deeper the hierarchies and the larger the operations, the tougher it is for senior managers to make decisions based on data instead of on acumen or bias. As such, they often turn to agencies for enlightenment: to give better and more actionable insights to inform decisions. In order to do this effectively, clients and agencies need to build synergy between them to turn weaknesses to strengths, and shortfalls to niches. COMMUNICATION “Clients and agencies need to be clear; agree and align on the availability of data, what is the expected output and the potential application/usage of the data for business decision making.” - Leroy Lim, Business Director, PHD Singapore Simple as it may sound, this is potentially the largest pitfall for most business relationships in the media industry. Even as most senior managers would agree that effective communication solves most problems, technical deadlocks and hard-to-swallow truths can be found in the data analytics industry. Some can angle insights in order to create a more alluring story for their business partners. However, they regularly commit the fallacy of omission, which can create false expectations and eventually tension between parties. It is hence crucial that assumptions and caveats are transparent, and that they can be challenged based on soundness rather than its appeal to stakeholders. This ensures that any unwelcome truths are supported by data and can be managed preventively instead of reactively. MANAGEMENT Even if clients and agencies see eye to eye, most fail to determine measurements and fail to realign expectations in time to salvage projects and business relationships alike. “Anything that cannot be measured cannot be managed; anything that cannot be managed cannot be successful.” - Robin Wong, Global head of Operations, 2 WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE THE SYNERGIES BETWEEN CLIENT AND AGENCY? By Goh Tze Sam & Sebastian Tay
  12. 12. 14 GroupM Data and Analytics Services A powerful statement, yet entrenched in reality; KPIs are key in objectifying success and should definitely be present in the data analytics industry. However, it is common that the efficiency of data crunching be prioritised over rigor in determining soundness of insights. In order to build trust between agencies and clients, both parties should outrightly agree that the KPIs in data analytics should not be on efficiency but rather in terms of effective analysis. This should be followed up with updates as often and as soon as possible in a given project. This gives opportunities for clients to provide business context and for agencies to give data visibility in order to decrease ambiguity. BUSINESS OBJECTIVES FIRST “Its about using business lingo to communicate with the clients or stakeholders. Strip back the data jargon and add value to business by understanding the business first which will lead to coming up with the right questions and ensuring the insights we provide are aligned with their business needs.” - Aleetza Senn, Managing Partner, Sparkline Analytics is a powerful tool for many clients. However, it should be seen as a crucial piece in the larger solution. It is of utmost importance for data analysts to understand the business objectives of the clients and agency, and then see where analytics can fit in and add value. As counterintuitive as it sounds, new analysts could benefit from slowing down and taking time in learning how the agency as a whole works with its clients, and look to connect the dots using their skillsets. The same concept of slowing down and learning can be applied to all other teams within the agency as well. Planners and managers should understand and leverage analytics as a form of intelligence to align on clients’ goals and forge more effective working relationships. A connected understanding of data analytics within the whole agency will lead to a more cohesive and stable client-agency relationship. ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS “Data is a very effective way of proving the value of a strategy so media agencies should translate ‘big data’ into actionable insights for the clients..” - Alice Isola, Associate Director Content/ SEO, Resolution Media What sets media agencies apart from a “Anything that cannot be measured cannot be managed;anythingthat cannot be managed cannot be successful.”
  13. 13. traditional consulting firm is that the former provides end-to-end services, from planning to executing communication plans. Insights acquired from data should therefore be actionable, and ultimately lead to added value for both client and agency. In other words, analysts must constantly challenge themselves with the question “So what?” when reviewing any data analysis findings. It is insufficient to simply use clients’ data and conclude which campaigns delivered the best ROI; instead, inform clients on how upcoming campaigns can be implemented based on these data-driven insights. This process of constantly reviewing and refining results from any data analysis will prove challenging, but will be an impactful way of demonstrating the value of an agency’s work to a client, through data. When clients see first-hand how data-driven insights help to add value, they will be more willing to share new data sources, paving the way for more data collaboration between client and agency. “ANALYTICS IS A POWERFUL TOOL FOR MANY CLIENTS. HOWEVER, IT SHOULD BE SEEN AS A CRUCIAL PIECE IN THE LARGER SOLUTION.”
  14. 14. 17 WHAT IS THE CURRENT HIRING SITUATION FOR MEDIA AGENCIES? What are companies looking for in data scientist hires? The likely answer is that they want intellectually curious individuals who are able to use their unique blend of domain expertise, programming skills, math and statistics to derive actionable insights from masses of data to solve business problems. These individuals are also great communicators who can effectively translate technical concepts to the layperson. However, finding such talents have been compared to finding four-leaf clovers and unicorns. If talent scarcity had not already made it difficult for companies to land such high calibre candidates, the highly competitive 3 DATA TALENT IN MEDIA: AN OVERVIEW market for them certainly has. More so for media agencies, who are competing with names like P&G, Accenture and McKinsey, who offer highly competitive packages for the same pool of talent. HOW CAN MEDIA AGENCIES SOLVE THEIR DATA TALENT SHORTAGE? Training up talent internally is one viable solution some media agencies are adopting. Internal staff may already be familiar with exploring clients’ data. The domain expertise they possess has been argued to be harder to acquire than technical skillsets. As Gartner Research Director Svetlana Sicular notes, “Learning Hadoop is easier than learning the company’s business”. All that is left is to cover the gap in terms of technical skillsets which can be achieved via retraining programs. The reverse holds true. Media agencies could induct fresh graduates with technical competencies in programming, math, and statistics into media and marketing. Omnicom Media Group has adopted such a strategy by recruiting talent from masters programs focused on economics and statistics. Expediting the company’s hiring process might also be a worthy undertaking. Recruitment company Burtch Works notes that data talent is rare and quickly snatched off the market. Sluggish hiring processes only make it harder to land these individuals who often have multiple offers. While salary has to be competitive, there are other forms of compensation that media agencies could consider. Burtch Works note that these include flexible work arrangements, access to the latest tools, organization-wide buy-in for analytics and solving challenging problems. By Avan Koh & Dustin Yang
  15. 15. 19 4 THE DIGITAL BOOM The media industry has been experiencing a boom in the number new technologies that come with the emergence of digital media its tracking possibilities. These new technologies allow marketers increased visibility on the purchase journey of consumers from the first time they were showed an advertisement till the time a purchase was made on the website. This was unprecedented in the offline marketing world. MORE DATA! The ability to track consumer journeys also meant the collection of huge amount of data aboutaconsumer.Wherewashefirstexposed to an ad? What other ads were viewed by him and on what sites? Did he click on the video ad and how long did he watch it? What pages did he view on our website and how far down the purchase funnel was he? The unfortunate marketer now has so many more data points to deal with, and would easily be overwhelmed if not trained to deal with these.. NEW TECHNOLOGY, MORE OPPORTUNITIES! With increased trackability and volume of data, technology vendors have built platforms to take advantage of new possibilities. Ad networks collect enormous cookie pools from their network of publishers, identifying user behaviour and interests through their viewing habits. DSPs and SSPs bridge the gap between demand and supply by providing an auction-like environment to sell and buy ad placements. Ad space can hence be sold to advertisers that view these users as more valuable, creating a win-win situation. With remarketing cookies, advertisers would also be able to follow users with relevant ads as they visit other websites after having left their own sites. WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? The emergence and convergence of big data and technology platforms has put media agencies on a back foot, due to the lack of talent and skills to handle these new trends. The media and marketing industry is conventionally viewed as more art than science has not help their cause; however, marketing campaigns and strategy are driven more by data than ever before. This is the space where the young professionals can fill. Armed with (big) data analytics skills, they are at an excellent position to coax the agencies to move towards a direction where decisions are driven by science and data more than judgement calls. COPING WITH THE DATA DELUGE By Tay Yu Heng
  16. 16. 20 WHERE CAN YOU LEARN? Besides analytics skills, it is also important to pick up industry knowledge. There are a number of free online resources available that come with official certifications. Google AdWords and Analytics certifications can be obtained from the Google Partners site, after viewing through some videos, reading content, and taking online quizzes. There are also other additional resources on the Analytics Academy site. Google’s online resources aside, you can also visit Facebook Blueprint to learn about campaign management from Facebook. MOOC platforms are another good place to learn. You can enrol for the Digital Marketing Specialisation by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on To quote the description of the specialisation: “When you complete the Digital Marketing Specialization you will have an understanding of the continually shifting consumer mindset and how to use varying digital platforms to reach different customer groups. You will understand strategic marketing concepts and the tools required to make informed decisions and set the direction for your company, business unit, department, or product line in a digital ecosystem.” Obtaining these additional certifications on your own accord will show your desire and drive for knowledge. The various MOOC platforms are also excellent places to pick up new analytics and big data skills, which the more experienced professionals can consider going through to understand these concepts and identify potential industry application. The Data Science Specialisation by the John Hopkins Univerity on is a good place to start. There are many more open online learning courses on this topic available out there for the keen and curious to explore. WHAT ABOUT THE MANAGERS? WHERE DO THEY COME IN? The big data analytics boom brought about radical new ways in how many industries operate, and the media and advertising field is no different. While new technology and techniques are being introduced, some managers are still used to the traditional way doing things; these include looking at percentage/numeric changes between rows and columns of excel sheets. This is where the new young professional can bring about changes. While less experienced in industry knowledge, newcomers may be able to introduce more efficient ways to analyse and evaluate the wide spectrum of data available to them. Managers should be open to allowing them more leeway to explore and model data. As mentors, the managers can help to bridge the gap in industry knowledge so that the techniques used are sound and relevant to “The emergence and convergence of big data and technology platforms has put media agencies on a back foot...”
  17. 17. 21 the context. TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! Young professionals equipped with strong technical skills in data, together with accommodative managers, are well poised to lead media agencies into the big data space by increasing operational efficiencies and discovering new opportunities. The possibilities are endless, let the change begin! “...they(young professionals) are at an excellent position to coax the agencies to move towards a direction where decisions are driven by science and data more than judgement calls.”
  18. 18. 23 IS DATA COLLABORATION POSSIBLE BETWEEN SISTER AGENCIES? “Data collaboration between sister agencies is difficult given confidentiality of client data...” - Robin Wong, Global Head of Operations, GroupM Data and Analytics Services With 4 different global agencies (Mindshare, MEC, Mediacom and Maxus) under GroupM, the potential impact of a collaboration is huge. However, even within sister agencies, collaboration with regards to data specifically is an issue due to the legal obligation of privacy where an agency’s clients are concerned. “Competition might be the reason for working in silos in agency sister groups.” - Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar, Managing Partner, Sparkline Data collaboration between sister agencies is also hindered by competition with each other, given competing client holdings between the agencies. At the same time, such competition should not be discouraged in order to ensure that the organisation as a whole continues to motivate and improve itself. “Media to Media, there’s a conflict… Share insights but not data or targeting data.” - Jason Tan, General Manager, ZenithOptimedia Group Forobviousreasons,certaindatacollaborations are simply not feasible between media agencies. However, there are possibilities of collaboration in different aspects such as sharing of learnings, infrastructures, ideas, methodologies and algorithms. “Agencies should collaborate more, not only between the agency sister groups but also between media and creative agencies.” - Alice Isola, Associate Director Content/ SEO, Resolution Media The notion of collaboration between media and creative agencies is also supported by Paul Frampton, Chief Executive Officer at Havas Media. “In the new world, there must be fewer kings and more coalitions.” - Paul Frampton, Chief Executive Officer, Havas Media In a 20 March 2015 article, “It’s time for media agencies to collaborate and connect, writes Havas Media’s Paul Frampton,” Frampton mentionstheimportanceof“agenciesevolving to become partners and collaborators,” and to achieve this with “regular dialogue and shared objectives.” There is a need for both the media and creative agencies to start involving each other more frequently. 5 By Celestine Goh & Khairul Anwar bin Abdul Aziz
  19. 19. 24 “Data will not kill creativity, if it belongs and benefits both media and creative teams.” - Paul Frampton, Chief Executive Officer, Havas Media Creative agencies will need to start adapting their content for programmatic advertising and media agencies have a hand in “amplifying and measuring” content ideas from the creative agencies. “It isn’t just about getting to the right person at the right time, but also with the right message.” - Vicnan Pannirselvam, Data Strategist, TBWA Until creative and media agencies are willing to talk to each other openly, the client’s interests are placed at a disadvantage. This doesn’t need to be a 100%, if reservations still exist – at the very least, performance of media buys (particularly for digital) can and ought to be communicated. Creative agencies need to be able to speak the language of media planners/ buyers – understand what CPC vs CPM is, what conversions are, and how testing and optimisation could work. Conversely, media agencies ought to have the confidence to transmit this data to their creative partners, and leverage their buys to suit various creatives. This particular paradigm would allow all stakeholders to achieve the best possible campaign and business results for their clients. HOW TO FOSTER COLLABORATION BETWEEN AGENCIES? In order to foster collaboration in agencies, a paradigm shift must occur from the status quo. At a macro-level , agencies can ignite the shift towards collaboration through creating the right culture, structure and synergy : Creating the Right Culture “A team structure where analysts are grouped based on distinct but complementary skill sets propel teams to work with one another to get the job done.” - Aleetza Senn, Managing Partner, Sparkline To foster complementariness, HBR recommends having everyone being clear on what their role is in the team, as well as flexibility on how to achieve their tasks. Team dynamics play an integral role in creating the right culture for collaboration to occur. “The open office concept will encourage sharing of domain expertise which will foster better communication, improve one’s effectiveness and efficiency and increase learning opportunities. ” - Joshua Bledsoe & Kimmy Koh, Director of Owned Media & Paid Social, GMI & Associate Director of Regional Search & Performance,GMI (iProspect Singapore) Dentsu Aegis Network By investing in signature relationship practices [HBR], collaborative behavior is encouraged as highly visible investments are made - in facilities with open floor plans to foster communication - that demonstrate an agency’s commitment to collaboration.
  20. 20. 25 Creating the Right Structure Run the agency group through a single P&L because as long as agencies compete head to head with their sister brands, the incentive to collaborate is massively weakened.” - Jonathan Edwards, Director Analytics, Data and Technology (APAC), MEC Runningtheentireagencygroupunderasingle P&L will be the biggest transformational shift to enhance collaboration. Not only will this discourage unhealthy competition between agencies in the form of price undercutting, it will foster a collaborative and innovative culture that enables the transfer of expertise between agencies. “Find data that is not sensitive and shareable. Besides that, get clear guidelines/structures/ rules on what goes in and out between sister agencies” - Harpreet Kaintel, CIO APAC, ZenithOptimedia Group In order to make collaboration seamless, a clear structure needs to be put in place with service-level agreements between agencies so that everything is clearly documented with minimal room for subjectivity. Creating the Right Synergy “Between media to media, get an understanding of what are each agency’s abilities and initiatives and find opportunities to jointly explore.” - Benjamin Yeow, Regional Digital Operations Director, Starcom Instead of using competition between agencies as a strategy to get the best results for a client, collaboration can be used to create the best team to work for the client. Prior to this, each agency needs to ascertain who has the best tools, talents and network for the job. At a micro-level, young professionals in the field can work on creating the foundation for themselves to collaborate by expanding their professional network. Creating the Right Foundation Networking can occur in diverse forms, from casual get-togethers such as Web Analytics Wednesdays, to the more organic variety such as volunteering at DataKind SG. Whichever the case, all forms encourage the exchange of ideas and the fostering of new skills to inspire young professionals with a new approach or network to achieve a specific objective. That is something that cannot be overlooked when one seeks for collaboration. “Instead of using competition between agencies as a strategy to get the best results for a client, collaboration is used instead by creating the best team to work for the client.”
  21. 21. 27 With an exponential adoption rate of technology nowadays, ad-tech companies are now finding themselves at the forefront of digital data collection. Many ad-tech companies can now therefore go straight to the marketers, and provide cheaper alternatives to use their services. Being the source of such digital data, ad-tech companies have that added advantage. “Many venture-backed ad-tech companies that originated as agency vendors are increasingly going directly to marketers and offering them cheaper ways to implement their technology. A combination of factors -- ad-tech companies wanting their own client rosters and marketers wanting to control their own data and lower costs, among them -- has spurred the movement.” - Alexandra Bruell, Tim Peterson, Adage. com “Tech firms know that there are huge opportunities in the marketing industry, and these platform providers are the people who resolve the problem of data availability.” - Jason Tan, General Manager, ZenithOptimedia Such leverage has given ad-tech companies much negotiating power, and more clients could now be thinking that they don’t really need the agencies anymore, leading to a situation of redundancy. “Everyone wants to cut out the middle- man and see if they can lock down dollars for themselves,” - Christine Peterson, U.S. group media director, MRY (Source, Should such a situation be viewed as a serious threat, or is it possibly a new opportunity that AD-TECH COMPANIES & MEDIA AGENCIES, RIVALS OF THE NEW ERA? 6 By Lin Yukai
  22. 22. 28 media agencies should grab hold of to make full potential use of such emerging trends? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BALANCE. As the world gets increasingly more digitalized, agencies can learn to adapt through a two-pronged approach: by striking a balance between building technologies and establishing partnerships. 1. Establish partnerships with ad-tech vendors “Agencies need to work closely with companies like Google and Facebook otherwise risk missing out on some of the latest tech solutions.” - James Parker, Client Solutions Director, Annalect “The business model of a media agency differs greatly from that of a technological company.” - Josh & Kimmy, Dentsu Aegis Network It is important to be updated on the latest trends within the marketing technology realm. Being the middleman between such platforms and clients, agencies takes the role of being nimble and technology agnostic. This allows agencies to change between tech solutions within the marketing environment, which gives them options to find the best solution for a client. Furthermore, with the vast differences in business models between media agencies and ad-tech companies, partnerships would be a better option over acquisition; the latter would add additional burdens on the agency to sustain and manage a business unit that is not of their expertise. 2. Building upon current technology in- house “Custom configurations of that tech; data warehouses, javascript applications, innovative ad tech deployment, clever statistical packages and so on are exactly what we should be doing. Building the underlying technology is not.” - Jonathan Edwards, Director - Analytics, Data and Technology (APAC) MEC “(Agencies should be) more on gaining value from others’ technology. Agencies need to work closely with the technology provider and educate/equip their employees with relevant skill sets of using those technology to their fullest potential.” - Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar, Managing Partner, Sparkline Technology is not the core expertise of media agencies. Thus, it is important for agencies to then explore into the area of value-addedness. By providing the necessary training of such technology within the agencies, employees “Being the middleman between such platforms and clients, agenciestakestherole of being nimble and technology agnostic.”
  23. 23. 29 could bring out the best from such tools, creating better and more efficient solutions to clients with their expertise. THE STRENGTHS OF MEDIA AGENCIES Despite the competition, media agencies should still be aware of certain competitive edges they still possess, and make them work to their advantage. 1. Possession of offline media data “There is still a sizable market for offline media” - Raymond Au, Head of Analytics, ZenithOptimedia “The demand for offline media (analytics) are still there, especially for large developing nation markets, which clients will still require in the future” - Harpreet Kaintel, CIO - APAC, ZenithOptimedia Group Despite the explosion of digital media, there is still a need for traditional offline media, which is still much prevalent in developing nations where technology penetration rate may not be as high. Thus, the possession and management of these offline campaigns and their relevant data will be one of the advantages agencies will hold. 2. Being THE useful middleman “Media agency technologies added value sits in the cross channel attribution capabilities.” - Alice Isola, Associate Director Content/SEO, Resolution Media “... (tech companies) may not be interested in offering full solutions but clients still need that. Thus, media agencies can step in as the mediator, to be the auditor for such data” - Harpreet Kaintel, CIO - APAC, ZenithOptimedia Group As the manager helping clients to run different sets of campaigns across multiple channels, agencies can further bring value through cross channel attribution; they are not only able to measure performance based on strategy and implementation, but also to benchmark it to industry/platform average. In addition, agencies can double up as the mediators, to be the auditors for the data provided by ad tech companies. Being in a neutral position, agencies can therefore recommend the best media-data, tech content, and creators that is of favourable trading terms best suited for each individual client. TOWARDS THE FUTURE “As media agencies, who are managing clients’ investments and in between the clients and the media owners, we should be doing more analytics for clients in order to help them make wiser investments, not more investments in the long term.” - Robin Wong, Global head of Operations, GroupM Data and Analytics Services With the ongoing trend of digitalization, agencies should not be complacent, and
  24. 24. 30 have continuous efforts in increasing its internal competencies and skillsets. Thus, as the stakeholder that manages clients’ investments and in between the clients and ad tech companies, agencies should be doing more analytics for clients in order to help them make wise investments, not more investments in the long term. Through more direct connection with clients, agencies can then get access to higher quality data, which can further increase the insights of analysis that brings high value. CONCLUSION “Being nimble and technology agnostic allows you to change with the latest best in class technology in the marketing environment” - James Parker, Client Solutions Director, Annalect The heightened competition between ad-tech firms and agencies is generating real market changes. It’s pressuring individual agencies to reposition their strengths and reconsider the costs of their ad-tech offerings. And it’s pushing ad-tech firms to build up agency-like capabilities to handle accounts. Thus, in such a fast paced and evolving environment, it is important for agencies to increase their adaptability to adjust to the changing trends by the ad-tech companies, yet preserving and improving their strengths and competitive advantages of having the know how from offline media experiences.
  28. 28. SPECIAL THANKS Dentsu Aegis Network GroupM Maxus MEC Mediacom Mindshare OMD Performics PHD Media Resolution Media Sparkline Starcom MediaVest Group TBWA Zenith Optimedia
  29. 29. CREDITS Circular Speech Bubble Icon on Page 3 made by from Infinity Icon on Page 12, Icon on Page 18, Boxing Gloves Icon on Page 26 and Human Icon on Page 32 made by from Money bag Vector Art on Page 6,Vector Art on Page 8, Human Bulb Brain Vector Art on Page 16, and Hand Vector Art on Page 22 designed by from Image on Page 30 taken from Youtube/IAB Arena