#AdForumSummit: End of big agency network era — Dentsu Aegis Network
by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) Jacqui Kelley, Dentsu Aegis Network North America CEO, led this second virtual session of the AdForum Worldwide Summit 2020 on Tuesday 30 June. It was structured into three parts: business update; the power of ideas and identity; and discussion.
For the first 15 minutes we had an informal discussion with all of the consultants and agency folk online via Zoom; it was great fun to catch up with everyone and see each other. Eighty-seven consultants were online for this session and we’re still wondering what a collection of pitch consultants should be called. The current favourite is “The Longlist”.
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Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) had structured a great deal of information into its 60-minute slot, plus a 30-minute Q&A. It was good to see how well they’d prepared and how they worked together seamlessly as a team — something that we pitch consultants are trained to observe.
DAN showed us an interesting chart indicating how the various networks have fared during covid-19. Overall, it’s has done better than most of its competitors in income stability. It’s also, during this time, addressed culture and diversity and taken several steps to improve these two areas across the network.
It believes that the era of the big agency network, with multiple clients and brands, has come to an end. In its place will be agency networks that focus on solving bigger business problems for fewer clients.
DAN has recorded a 43% growth in new business pipeline prospects in the past 12 months, with a 14% growth in year-on-year new business revenue and a 19% growth in “integrated deals”.
Dentsu Aegis Network sees its positioning as being a creative network built for the new global marketing requirements, including:
- The power of the platform
- Bias to behaviour
- The ability to affect change from the inside out
It believes that clients deserve better via:
Currently, the network includes 38 global offices in 28 markets, with 3200 employees.
The team presented one in-depth case study for its client, American Express, which we all appreciated, in preference to a few different case studies where there wouldn’t have been time to go into the detail.
DAN also identified that martech (marketing technology) is the most-important priority for marketers at the moment in order to improve the quality and quantity of first-party data that’s critical to the success of those marketers’ brands.
The session was very interactive throughout, both among the agency team as well as with the consultants — no mean feat in a session of just under 90 minutes. Our overall impression was of a future-facing network that has performance marketing agency, Merkle, as its “secret sauce”.
Our next session will be with Havas Creative today, Wednesday 1 July.
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Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) is MD of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), which is partnered with the AAR Group in the UK. Twice a year she attends AdForum Worldwide Summits. Further information from Dentsu Aegis Network North America will be shared at her IAS masterclasses for agencies and marketers on 14 and 21 July 2020.
This MarkLives #CoronavirusSA special section contains coverage of how the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and its resultant disease, covid-19, is affecting the advertising, marketing and related industries in South Africa and other parts of Africa, and how we are responding. Updates may be sent to us via our contact form or the email address published on our Contact Us page. Opinion pieces/guest columns must be exclusive.