Some ‘ratbag’ media agencies are eroding industry trust

According to Mumbrella’s State of the Industry survey, 81.96% of media agencies admitted that they still have an issue with transparency. At an event revealing the survey’s findings in Sydney last night, Omnicom Media Group’s CEO Peter Horgan acknowledged that there are still “some ratbag agencies out there”.

Speaking on a panel at Mumbrella’s NeXt Awards, Horgan said although transparency is still an issue, trust is the biggest challenge media agencies are facing.

The State of the Industry panel: Peter Horgan, Nick Garrett, Kim Portrate and Jonathan Kerr

“Media agencies in the last five years have eroded that trust and again there is a spectrum on that, but all are caught up and unfortunately tied by the behaviour of some.

“If there is a spectrum of media agencies, there are some ratbag agencies out there that were, or maybe still are, behaving in a way that is not in the best interest of clients. By the same token, there are clients out there who have no interest in paying for the resource they access and the expertise they access.

“Quite frankly, those two entities deserve each other,” the media executive said.

Addressing transparency, Horgan said a lot has been achieved in the past three years to “clean up that behaviour and reputation”.

Horgan: ‘All are caught up and unfortunately tied by the behaviour of some’

Jonathan Kerr, chief marketing officer at Auto & General and Budget Direct, said the fastest way to determine if there is a transparency issue in your business or a rostered agency’s, is to understand performance.

“If you can’t work out if your media is performing then you probably aren’t a marketer,” Kerr added.

Being transparent in an industry with trust issues is an opportunity for agencies, the CMO said.

“It’s a huge opportunity, that’s the opportunity, to be known as a trusted entity.”

Agreeing with Budget Direct’s Kerr, Think TV’s CEO Kim Portrate said marketers who complain about things they don’t understand and haven’t given the time to learn, “don’t have any right to complain”.

Formerly the chief marketing officer at Helloworld and GM of consumer marketing at Tourism Australia, Portrate said she has never understood why “you would have a boat load of cash that someone has given you and not understand how it is being spent”.

“You can’t hold one sector accountable and give everybody else a free pass, that’s not fair”.


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