Stop lamenting the heady days of media - we need to change with the times
A view from Paul Frampton

Stop lamenting the heady days of media - we need to change with the times

Many seasoned protagonists often bemoan the lack of personalities in our media business today, but such a perspective misses the point.

The first flush of media agencies in the 80s were the heady days of "media", when the most important accolades were the length and celebrity/award count of a brand’s latest TV ad. Today’s marketing landscape is a world apart: FTSE 100 brands are just as focused on ROI, technology and customer strategy as they are on whether their TV ad is in Coronation Street.

The average tenure of a chief marketing officer is on the decline again, with less than two years the new norm. During that same period, most agencies will have seen one in two of their senior marketing contacts change. What this tells us is that we are in the midst of unprecedented change. So why should we expect to see the same characters leading the agencies?

All agencies have worked on reinventing themselves for a world that is as much about owned and earned as it is paid media. All are thinking of where to make their big bets: analytics, technology, mobile, social or performance? But the shift is not happening fast enough.

The industry needs a wave of modern leaders. The very foundation on which leadership has been established is being challenged. Today’s millennial generation expect authenticity, fairness, accessibility and real-time communication.

'We probably don't yet know the name of the biggest company in 2020. Big or established is no longer better'

Planning for real-time in tune with media deployment is already a norm, yet our industry itself still moves and communicates to the rhythm of yesterday. Take the future of marketing conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn, for example. There is an hourly conversation, yet most agency bosses (and marketers) are still mysteriously absent.

Agency staff, however, are very much in the present, with their minds open to new insights, opportunities and contacts. And then there’s the corridors of the vibrant and dynamic community at Silicon Roundabout, which are devoid of regular agency traffic.

The future of marketing is not to be found by looking to the past for answers. As is regularly noted, we probably don’t yet know the name of the biggest company in 2020. Big or established is no longer better; better is better.

Tomorrow is about being braver and changing faster so the leaders we need for the next decade will and should look very different to those of the past. Join me on Twitter to continue the conversation (@paul_framp).

Paul Frampton is the chief executive at Havas Media UK