Advertising is dead. Long live Advertising.
Advertising agency business model as we know it, is dead. Dwindling margins, frequent pitches, FB, Google & consultancies stealing growth from WPP, Publicis and other holding companies... The business is obviously broken.
Here's my idea to fix it.
Earlier, I had written about this idea here - https://truthaboutbranding.com/2016/12/14/the-advertising-agencies-of-future-will-be-open-sourced/
for which I won the WPP Atticus Award 2016.
StrategistHello! I am Ajinkya Pawar
Ajinkyapawar at gmail dot com
Agency as a
And today I am going to talk about why the marketing services business needs to change.
And more importantly, how?
What forces are shaping
What it means for marketing
services agencies to
become a platform.
Why does it matter?
Advertising is fundamentally in crisis.
FB, Google and now even consultancies stealing our lunch.
Consolidated yet not integrated
Best talent moving to ‘new economy’
Fraudulent media supply chain
Suicide by overworked employee of Dentsu Japan
Unhealthy obsession with awards
Lack of unity either among employees or companies
Life is difficult, it's a low-
Sir Martin Sorrell
And the global economy is not helping either.
Unequal economic growth – affecting consumer spending.
Uncertainty with national policies
Disruption of conventional business models
Shoot-in-the-foot policies like demonetization
Relevance of brands is diminishing.
Google, amazon reviews replacing transactive
memories for “favorite brands”.
Voice search (Alexa) will limit brand choices.
Consumers don’t want ads.
Explosion of ad-blocking and on-demand ad-free
Advertising is the tax that the
poor or the technologically
illiterate have to pay. Wealthy are
blocking ads and choosing on-
demand ad-free content.
- Scott Galloway, NYU Stern prof.
Our efforts to adapt to the changing
Cleaner media supply chain?
Confident pricing for creative fees?
Native? Content? Relevance?
…Is too little and too late.
Advertising industry has already been
P&G partners with Amazon directly for e-commerce.
Accenture is at no.6 in the list of AdAge list of biggest advertising
companies by revenue, 2016.
Our value has eroded.
WPP, Publicis are hot targets for acquisition right now.
We are not as relevant as we used to be.
We preach bold disruption to clients.
Can we do it for our own businesses?
We need to change fundamentally to
remain relevant in 21st century.
THE CHANGE AGENTS
VALUE IN THE NEW AGE.
• Egalitarian access
• Disruptive expansion of consumer’s
• Identity/ Brand
• Unprecedented scalability
• Ruthless efficiency
• Vision attracts cheap capital and talent
• Monopolistic control over market (or at
least potential for)
An enabling environment/ infrastructure that,
1. Gives freedom to connect with others
2. Enables valuable exchanges which were not
possible outside of the platform
3. Enables external applications on top of it, APIs
Agency as platforms
Hence, what can we open for outsiders? What remains
What services can others build on top of our platform?
What plug-n-play will we enable?
Small business growth
Not just for
But also for
An egalitarian access to
techniques and ideas for
growth for all.
Why for all?
The long tail of growth.
95% of enterprises across the world are small or medium
SMEs contribution to GDP varies from 16% in low-income countries
to 51% in high-income countries.
Assuming they spend 10% of their revenues on marketing, we are
losing 1.6% to 5.1% of GDP worth of billings.
2. Personal brand
The ambitious amongst us recognize that they need to build their
‘personal brands’. Right now, they only have gurus, self-help books to
help them. Why can’t we help people build their ‘personal brand’?
stack up in
• Limited to corporate brands, remains B2B.
• No cultural currency for company brand.
• Connected together only by ownership.
• For example, no synergies between Kantar and Ogilvy.
• We don’t help our consumer do more.
• Terribly inefficient with lack of standards and processes.
• In the age of instantaneity, our campaigns can still take
months to fruition.
• Dwindling margins, best talent leaving for dot coms.Capital
• Not possible with current biz model – due to competing brands’
clause, scale, fragmented services etc.Monopoly
Not to well.
Marcel will be an AI assistant for Publicis employees to
identify best talent from the group.
It solves a smaller problem of talent management.
A platform is not about solving for efficiency alone.
How does a Platform for Growth look like?
A bold move.
Even if absolutely inadequate.
OPEN SOURCE AGENCY
LONG LIVE ADVERTISING.
99DESIGNS.COM AND MANY MORE
OPEN MARKET FOR IDEAS
OPEN TALENT ACCESS
VICTOR & SPOILS
PEN: UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE AND OPEN
SOURCE: THE UNIQUE LOGIC THAT SOLVES
Open platform for agency certified creative
professionals to provide their services from.
Open access to strategy algorithms, certain datasets,
case studies and talent for all (clients).
Do brief, fusion, Lovemarks, springboard, BrandZ,
Needscope, Adtracks, RMS, TAM, Spotlight…..
Our unique algorithms (ways of solving problems) and
our unique dataset (past campaigns, researches etc.)
Why does our
And we don’t own that data!
Marketers and platforms do.
Our value is in the intelligence and creativity that helps
We must make our methods, datasets, learnings and ideas
INTELLIGENT. Usable at scale. Able to improve itself with use.
Because, Surveillance Data Is The New Gold.
Research Data Solutions Media
Integration is not merely about “360 degree” branding
or teams talking more often. It is about processes and
systems working seamlessly from research to media
It means Kantar + Ogilvy + Group M as a single
seamless operation – single platform.
Research Data Solutions Media
Create the truly integrated source code.
• Agency as a growth-accelerating platform
• Adaptable to distinct consumer journeys of
individuals, SMEs and Corporate, for all their
marketing needs – from research &
strategy to media touch points and every
thing in between.
• Our key value is in
• our source code – our intelligent
methodologies, frameworks, algorithms
and data sets that are critical for
• Network effect of people (employees +
community) who employ these tools at
The new way of
Open source principles and
blockchain tech will be key to
make this a reality.
Individual SME Corporate
Tiered access –
Free access to basic tools, data sets, case
Personal Brand Guide: For a flat fee,
access to algorithm to help make certain
strategy decisions + access to community
Small Business Booster:
Flat fee + variable depending on SOW
+ on-call planner, time-bound access to
Full service agency
Existing mode of operation and pricing,
with free value add access of all earlier
• Human creativity!
• Client data?
• Confidentiality agreement?
• Upsetting existing relationships?
• Reputation risks?
First, imagine the cost of not being prepared in
the winner-takes-all game of platform.
Second, devil’s in the detail of the business
THE NEW BUSINESS MODEL
Winner takes all.
Let’s unlock it
over a term
Why should you bother?
1. Market share: Winner takes all game of
2. Mindshare: Set the language of marketing for
the future and increase marketing literacy.
3. Get bigger: Instead of depending on a few big
clients, source growth from the long tail.
4. Get Nimble: to cater to most opportunities.
5. Virtuous cycle: Of aiding growth and reaping
new business opportunities.
Connect with me at -
Ajinkyapawar at gmail dot com