Ogilvy NA Appoints Discipline Specific MDs

Interesting note in the press from the US about Ogilvy North America. 

A lot of bigger agencies have been experimenting with mixing up teams, de-accentuating or eliminating P&Ls, and cross-training up people so they can deliver integrated solutions.

The question is does it work?  At Ogilvy in NY the decision has been made to have separate MDs running DM and Advertising — which means perhaps not.

“We were trying to get people not to worry about a P&L and to think in a more holistic way about [client] solutions,” said John Seifert, North American chairman of The Ogilvy Group. “The effect that it had — which we discovered pretty quickly — is that it started to create a kind of grayness to what each discipline stood for.”

And, it must be assumed, that must have impacted on how the teams reacted to client requests and the quality of the work.  Otherwise the agency — which is one of the most mature and best run of the big established agencies — wouldn’t change course.

They’ll run their divisions, but then they’ll have an accountability on her [Carla Hendra’s] leadership team to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

“There should be a common culture and philosophy of our promise to clients,” said Seifert. “But … we don’t want that to be lost in a mushed-up ‘we’re all one’ kind of model.”

Interesting to see — and equally interesting that DM and Advertising are seen as requiring separate management, but Digital is not.  Like a lot of established agencies, the management of DM, Advertising, Media, Heathcare Marketing, and PR have proven their case that their disciplines have a complexity and special skills that require nurturing and dedicated management. 

But poor OgilvyInteractive – despite being the oldest interactive agency brands and having a good case to celebrate turning 25 this year — languishes in integration without dedicated management. 

Be interesting to see how that works out as the year progresses.


Ogilvy Team: Separate but Equal

A restructuring in New York results in two new managing directors

March 8, 2009

-By Andrew McMains

NEW YORK When Ogilvy & Mather named separate managing directors for advertising and direct marketing at its New York headquarters last week, it was a tacit acknowledgment that having co-leaders across all disciplines bred confusion among staffers and a lack of accountability among bosses.

“We were trying to get people not to worry about a P&L and to think in a more holistic way about [client] solutions,” said John Seifert, North American chairman of The Ogilvy Group. “The effect that it had — which we discovered pretty quickly — is that it started to create a kind of grayness to what each discipline stood for.”


Chaos 1.0

This is a piece I wrote for the IAB Engage Conference Handbook:

The Future of Marketing?

End is Near

“The advertising industry is passing through one of the most disorienting periods in its history … More people are rejecting traditional sales messages, presenting the ad industry with big challenges. ”
Economist, June 2004

“To find something comparable, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, the birth of mass media …”
Rupert Murdoch, quoted in Wired, July 2006

It is an interesting time in the marketing industry.

Advertising agency executives, faced with the fast adoption of personal video recorders and shift of magazine content online, are convinced the business will cease to exist in as soon as five years. Or five minutes if you listen to Bob Garfield.

Direct Marketing agency executives are watching B2B communications shift aggressively to email and are questioning whether the traditional direct mail piece will be a relevant tool for generating leads or even delivering offers before too long.

PR agencies see that the tradition that all corporate communications is channelled through the corporate communications department to specific high circulation publishers is loosing relevance. Internal experts are expected to publish directly and the required response time for crisis management is minutes not days.

Finally, Media agencies are being presented viable online auction systems from SpotRunner, eBay and Google that could make the “buying clout” argument irrelevant. What’s more, they know the traditional media plan could quickly disappear as more channels are served and managed like search media.

In the face of all of this, amazingly the Digital Agencies also feel their business is under threat. As all briefs become “interactive briefs,” they are being stretched to compete with all agencies from all disciplines. They of all people recognise digital marketing encompasses a broad tool set and can be part of every campaign. As traditional agencies push for interactive work, they are looking to offer a broader solution including advertising or DM.

The piece that is critical is of course our clients. Marketing departments have their own pressures as product development, supply chains, communications and sales are impacted by technology. The last thing they need is their agencies bickering with each other over who does what, why and how.

As we go through this period of transformation, clients need to know they have a partner that can bring the people with the right skills to the table and know that there is clear programme management of their 360 campaigns. They need to know the core of their business will be delivered safely, but also know that their partner is willing to be adventurous. They know they need to be innovative, but briefing multiple agencies and managing the integration of the resulting work is more then a small challenge.

At OgilvyInteractive, our teams sit and work with each of the discipline organisation to be able to bring digital expertise together with the years of experience in advertising, direct marketing, healthcare marketing, sales activation or PR. As a community of digital professionals, we work with our colleagues in bespoke teams to meet our clients’ needs and work together to stay on top of the industry that is in constant change.

It may be a confusing time to be in marketing, but it is also a great time because the disciplines that were in silos in the past are now working together and clients are willing to test and measure new ideas. The big digital toolbox is being used to amplify great work across the disciplines which should be the result when you are doing real integrated 360 degree campaigns.