In March 2019 I was fortunate enough to visit Google’s head office (a.k.a. the “Googleplex”) in Mountain View, California as one of the Australia and New Zealand nominees for their Performance Honours program. During the two-day summit, I heard product specialists and evangelists like Tuan Mai explain how advertisers can leverage AR and VR for clients, and Zach Walz and Neil Hoyne discussing how to make marketing personal by calculating customer lifetime value.
However, it was Kevin Murakami, the Global Performance Marketing Lead at Google, who really got me thinking. He presented on the topic of “the performance agency of the future”, where he addressed the importance of communication between Google and their agency partner Essence, and how crucial it is in establishing the best possible environment for collaboration and partnership.
His talk made me realise that to build long-term success as an agency, we need to have a resource model bespoke to what each and every client needs. I learned that to create this model, there are two questions that we should be asking ourselves, and that we should invite our clients to ask us too.
1. Have we future-proofed our agency to adapt to ever-evolving client needs?
Clients’ expectations and knowledge are ever-evolving. The complexities of their requirements are constantly increasing. Clients hire agencies for their expertise and mental capital to help them achieve overall business outcomes.
But are agencies modernising their talent pools as fast as their clients’ needs are evolving? We need to ask the right questions to fully immerse ourselves in a client’s business, and to know what they really want and what resource is going to be the right fit.
As Rebecca Stewart said on The Drum, understanding the know-how, skills and resources we might need is essential for future-proofing their business. Agencies need to take the time to think outside the box and identify what’s required, and if they don’t have a person that can execute on that task, they must recruit talent that can.
If the client needs a data scientist to run a bespoke measurement project, or an analyst to uncover trends and insights from paid media, this should be identified in advance to ensure the agency has the right resource available.
Transparency, communication and trust are the drivers for our current and future client relationships to grow into true partnerships. Or as Oliver Rapson put it:
“Open and honest communication is crucial if we want to create a concrete foundation on which we can choose the best team and deploy the right resources in order to achieve the goals set out.”
2. Have we built a culture that attracts the right talent?
It’s one thing to identify the talent we need; it’s another to encourage them to work for you.
It’s important to clearly explain all the benefits that we have as a business, which includes portraying our agency culture, so that the candidate is excited to start or continue their career with us. At iProspect we’ve built a culture that speaks to two key statements:
- To be a place where you can be the best version of you; and
- Where people do the best work of their careers.
When I interview candidates, I aim to keep an open mindset as we want to hire people who aren’t just carbon copies of ourselves; we want to hire people who are going to bring positivity and new ideas to the workplace.
Leaders must focus on culture and talent to build a successful, sustainable business. To do so, they must attract the best talent. And the best way of doing that is to nurture a diverse and inclusive culture that nourishes and inspires everyone within it.
Agencies of the future need to become trusted partners for their clients, or run the risk of not staying relevant. Clients are busy enough competing in their own industries, so they shouldn’t have to settle for second best. As agencies, we therefore need to future-proof ourselves by building our pool of skills and human resources, and to create a culture that enables this process.
For us at iProspect and for agencies of all other shapes and sizes, this will help put into perspective the kind of agency that we want to become, and the path that we should take when moving forward.