Podcast: Media Agency Tectonics

Dentsu Aegis Network’s media billings grew 28% in 2018, according to benchmarking firm RECMA, making it the fastest-growing media group among the holding companies. The company now has $13 billion under management across Carat, dentsu X, iProspect and other agencies.

This week on AdExchanger Talks, Dentsu Aegis’ media chairman, Doug Ray, describes the agency’s growth formula and the shifting needs of its clients.

“Because we are the youngest of all the major global networks … we are also slightly smaller than a number of those networks, which gives us [the] ability to be more future focused and agile, in terms of the service model that we think clients are going to require in the future,” he says.

That future model includes greater integration with other marketing disciplines like creative and CRM, as well as greater sensitivity to culture and context. The latter has been an afterthought in programmatic, but that’s changing.

“We now have the ability to build audiences based on context,” Ray says. “We can look at bidstream data from programmatic and we can understand, ‘Is this an audience that’s more likely to spend time on baseball content?’ And we can build an audience of baseball enthusiasts.”

Also in this episode, Ray describes the growing estrangement in recent years between clients and agencies. He says agencies have grudgingly come to accept that they don’t have to do everything on behalf of a brand customer.

“There’s been a fundamental erosion in trust between the clients and the agencies. That has led the clients to do a number of things – to take marketing services in house, to look to other suppliers for advice, to challenge certain contracts or certain supply chains that have existed,” he says. “I think it’s all for the better. I do think there needed to be a big wakeup call for this industry. The future is ultimately going to be built on the trust that a marketer has with their advisor.”

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