Trendsetters: GroupM's Irwin Gotlieb Addresses Media Transparency & a New Cross-Industry Task Force
Irwin Gotlieb, Chairman of GroupM Worldwide, and one of the eight task force executives, shared WPP's perspective on media transparency in an interview with Bob Liodice before an audience of 700 marketing procurement executives at the ANA's Phoenix conference.
Gotlieb addressed a range of subjects during the interview. Among them: an acknowledgement of media's growing complexity and its impact on the consideration and transaction aspects of the sales funnel, the level of specialized knowledge necessary to understand the evolving science of media—from cross-channel attribution to its effects when paired with Big Data, the new realities and financial pressures of running profitable, leading-edge media agencies, a polarization of trust issues between clients and agencies, and as well as fundamental concerns regarding contracts, compliance, briefs, and the changing definition of terms like "agent," which were once simple to comprehend.
Plus, he acknowledged that on a worldwide basis there are different answers for different geographies, particularly for a Holding Company that works with clients in many local markets. "Not every client is buying the same thing at the same time, and not every client is paying the same price. We have to manage a portfolio to deliver individual benefits, and there is risk. Often aggregation of demand is key."
Bob Liodice emphasized that transparency concerns– whether real or perceived-- need to be addressed. He added that today's intricate media transactions should also follow practices to enhance a marketer's understanding of the process in order to build client-agency trust, not erode it. "It's not only about the dialogue," said Liodice, "but it's also about the increased understanding of what's working and what insights clients want from media agencies. Marketers are looking at their spending, and they currently feel that they don't have all the information or a complete understanding of the issues at play. Our Transparency concern is—‘Do clients understand what was purchased and delivered on their behalf?'"
Irwin Gotlieb agreed that the 21st century has brought about unprecedented complexity, and said, "We owe it to each other [client and agency] to understand what's going on." However, he also stated, "We operate separate businesses. We have to adhere to contracts and have confidence that our clients will structure and enforce them appropriately. But we should get better at aligning interests."
The Transparency Task Force group will begin discussions in early May and will report back to the industry later this year.