Agency networks set for big changes

We are delighted to have signed up Interpublic Group's chief executive officer and chairman Michael Roth as one of our keynote speakers for the PRWeek NEXT conference, which this year takes place in New York on Tuesday November 9.

We are delighted to have signed up Interpublic Group's chief executive officer and chairman Michael Roth as one of our keynote speakers for the PRWeek NEXT conference, which this year takes place in New York on Tuesday November 9.

It will be particularly timely to be able to hear from one of the leaders of the global marketing services groups, because these agency networks are going through a period of dramatic change and evolution.

The old days of the advertising agency producing two high-profile – and expensive – ad campaigns a year, then handing over to the media agency to book the space – for a healthy chunk of commission – and the PR and digital agencies to dabble around the edges, are long gone.

The modern agency services environment is far more convoluted and interwoven than that. So, in the modern marketing world, you will have a creative agency – Wieden + Kennedy - producing a series of YouTube videos for Old Spice that quickly went viral on social networks. You have PR agencies hiring creative directors and setting up studios in their basements to produce content for their clients, who are rapidly becoming media owners. You have media agencies producing social media strategies for clients and setting up content arms. You have advertising agencies such as M&C Saatchi launching PR agencies. And you have media owners working directly with clients on content projects.

All this suggests the agency network is going to look very different in five years. Past attempts to set up mega client-specific agency operations that handle one client across all disciplines, such as WPP's Enfatico on the Dell account, have generally failed miserably, so that is unlikely to be the answer.

But network structures will change and PR agencies will have a far larger role to play than they have had in the future. It will be fascinating to hear Roth's take on it all in November.

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