Facebook CMO on bringing creative in-house and why consultancies will make more moves on agencies

The need for speed in modern business has lead Facebook to bring a lot of its creative duties in house, with the social media giant’s global CMO Gary Briggs warning agencies and brands that the old way of doing things is almost extinct.

Speaking at Mumbrella360, Briggs said the changing creative process and ways of doing business also accounted for consultancies’ moves to acquire agencies.

Gary Briggs Global CMO of Facebook

Gary Briggs Global CMO of Facebook

“Nearly 100% of our revenue now comes from ads and products that did not exist five years ago – this is how fast things have moved,” he said.

Speaking in a Q&A session with Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes, Briggs laid out how the barriers between marketers are being wiped out by the need to respond to a fast changing market.

“The biggest difference I’ve seen in the last 10 years is speed. If I go back to when I was at Pepsi, the cycle time of building content and the feedback loop – I meet with you, you make a Powerpoint presentation, you come in, I make some comments and you ignore some of them because you think I’m an idiot, you come back three weeks later – that just does not work anymore,” he said.

“One of the reasons we’ve insourced a good amount of creative into the the company – we have an inhouse team now – is speed.”

Briggs said the creative process is increasingly intertwined with product development and, at least in technology companies like Facebook, is having a much greater engineering presence.

“Our creatives are working hand in hand with project managers on advertising, one of the most powerful things we’ve been able to do that really resonates with people are the videos you see on Facebook – an anniversary, the Year in Review – that’s actually built by our team.

“We have front-end engineers who are part of our marketing team. They work with the engineering team to build these products and they work with infrastructure, the infrastructure team is a good example. We pre-rendered about 800 million videos and in the first 24 hours about 350 million people watched their own videos. You can’t do that unless you’re in the hallway.

“The people who run the marketing organisation don’t just sit next to the brand people with the data people parked in a different building. The analytics people are not in a technology organisation, they are all together. It doesn’t matter if they are brand or DR, what matters is the results in driving the business for the company on behalf of the customers they serve.”

The speed and technology changes are one of the reasons why consulting companies are making strong moves into the agency space, Briggs believes.

“I think that’s the biggest change, I find the agencies that are doing well are changing the working model. It’s why you’re seeing consulting firms coming into the agency business, is they are more used to cohabiting with marketers and companies.

“When I was with McKinsey, we’d show up, we’d take over a conference room and we lived with the client for the engagement – that’s where it’s going. That’s a different working model for an agency but I think everyone gets better, the client gets better and the agency gets better as they work closely together.”

As disciplines come together, Briggs believes the future in the integrated world is bright for marketers.

“I think it’s getting better for marketers, the best job you can have is where the accountability you have for a job and the responsibility you have for the job fly together,” he said.

“Early in my career I had the responsibility to market brand Pepsi and my understanding the work we were doing was slow,” he said. “We’re going into a world where that’s going away.

“People spend $750 billion a year globally on advertising, we should spend that well. The better we spend it, our relationships with CFOs get better, the less you’re running away from the finance people. That’s where it ought to go.

“The distinction between a brand marketer and a direct marketer I think is going away.” Briggs observed, “the best marketers on Facebook today are the ones who don’t make that distinction. They are doing both and they are doing both extremely well, they’re building brands and driving results through rapid iteration, test and learn. They are changing organisations in the way they get things done.”


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