Agencies must focus on simplifying an industry which has become “incredibly complex” for advertisers, according to MediaCom’s newly-appointed worldwide chief operating officer (COO) Toby Jenner.
In his first major interview since being promoted earlier this month, Jenner reflected on the first year of MediaCom’s new positioning as a ‘Content and Connections’ business, a stance he believes is progressing well.
Listing new business successes over the past year, such the global Mars planning account and the US media account for AB InBev – with a combined value of nearly $3bn in billings – Jenner said the new approach is resonating with clients.
“Clients are demanding that we simplify what is becoming incredibly complex,” said Jenner. “The way we simplify it is through ‘systems thinking’, incorporating a client’s communications systems, the multiple connections points they have, and the content which fuels individual connections.
“It is absolutely delivering against the client needs, but we’re also doing it because we think it’s the right thing to do. Hopefully we’re pushing ahead a bit further than clients are demanding to keep ahead of the curve.”
New York-based Jenner, who will retain his previous global business development and marketing duties in his new role, will be responsible for leading MediaCom’s business roadmap, working with global leaders to ensure a common approach across markets.
“The word consistency is much undervalued. It has some pretty negative connotations, but I think better for us means more consistency,” he said.
“We’ve got an amazing team, an amazing bunch of people, and we’re all now on exactly the same path and journey. Some markets are ahead of others, but we’ve now got everyone heading in the right direction.”
Some areas for improvement do remain, however. Jenner is focused on developing MediaCom’s capabilities in two very different areas: programmatic and storytelling.
Highlighted by Publicis’ recent decision to bring programmatic trading into its media agencies, and away from its Vivaki trading desk, Jenner argues it is inevitable that programmatic will become a greater part of the agency offering.
“How the area of programmatic evolves, and how agencies bring that back into their business to be a more central tenet of what we do, rather than it sitting with the patent group, is going to be an important change over the next 12 months.”
Storytelling, meanwhile, is something the industry continues to struggle with, despite the array of new communications channels at its disposal, he claims: “I don’t think yet as an industry we’re good enough at storytelling
“Whether that be a 30 second TV ad, long form content or anything in between. We feel clients and agencies can be infinitely better storytellers, given the technology and content platforms we now have.”