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Performance and programmatic companies aim for lead agency role with creative push

Michael Kahn and Grace Chu

Michael Kahn and Grace Chu

Programmatic and performance agencies will make a move towards getting more creative capabilities as they look to become the lead agency for marketers, according to the global head of performance marketing agency Performics.

Michael Kahn, CEO of the Chicago-based division of ZenithOptimedia, said that the use of data analytics to guide campaign decisions was extending further into content and that the next logical step was for agencies to begin playing a role in the creative development.

Speaking exclusively to Mumbrella on a trip to Australia to visit recent acquisition Firstclick Consulting Khan said: “The evolution was creative shops owned the discussion and then media came in and media agencies took over because they owned the connection points and all the touch points with the consumer. Now what’s the next destination?

“From the digital view who owns the data and the discussion around the consumer profile? It’s the performance agencies.

“This isn’t like us overstating what we are doing today, if you think about where we are going in the future, it’s us owning a seat at the table now to actually be leading the marketing plan and strategy as opposed to just be fulfilling it.

“That is something I can comfortably say is something that will happen within the next five years.”

He said that it would mean there would be more and more assignments where businesses like Performics would be the lead strategy and content agency at the table.

Performics moved into the Australian market earlier this year, acquiring local performance agency Firstclick consulting in June, and Kahn said the move was already paying dividends with the agency having recently added a number of new clients including Ozforex, Red Energy, Hobby King and Storage King.

Grace Chu, CEO of Firstclick, said while the business continued to grow with the added international support of Performics, one of the biggest challenges was attracting and maintaining talent in the face of competition from across the digital sector, not just from performance marketing rivals.

She said pride in delivering results to clients was a key part of keeping the retention rate high.

“We have a pretty good track record of retaining people, especially senior people,” said Chu.

Recruitment remains a major challenge and Kahn said Performics was now targeting students straight out of university rather than fighting to lure fully trained staff from other digital businesses

“We’re actually working directly with major universities and bringing in college grads from the moment they graduate,” he said.

He said the business was then able to develop staff with its own training programs.

“It becomes a whole different way to build up the talent base from the ground up.”

Simon Canning

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