Media: Double Standards - 'I thought I would meet women working online'

Teaching offline agencies a thing or two about hard work, keeping up with the pace of change in digital and praising those clients who really 'get' the medium.

DAVID EASTMAN - MANAGING DIRECTOR, AGENCY.COM

- Are clients increasingly pitching their business on a global basis and why?

Yes, because as the world gets flatter, there is a need for global brands to appear seamless across both geography and media - and it is more cost-efficient for clients.

- Do clients need global agencies in local markets in order to service their business?

For global brands, yes.

- How much local expertise do you need to service a global client?

Enough to be able to understand how to make consumers laugh and cry in that market.

- What's the most important thing about servicing a global client?

Having a sensational global account director who understands the term "an iron fist in a velvet glove".

- Do clients take digital seriously enough by involving senior management and allocating decent budgets, or do many still lag behind?

The best clients help us drive the medium forward, they allocate serious budgets and they have the desire to make digital the heart of their communications. There are not enough of them, however.

- Are there gaps in the digital offering offered by most agencies?

There's so much going on online that even with a network of more than 400 interactive specialists doing nothing but eating/sleeping/drinking/breathing/dreaming digital interactivity, we can still barely keep up with it.

- Do enough offline creatives understand digital and would the industry benefit from enticing more talent from the offline side of the business?

In terms of understanding interactivity and creating an online experience, no. Getting talent from offline is becoming easier but getting talent generally is very difficult and getting more so. Creating a home where the best talent wants to live is, therefore, key.

- Do digital agencies work harder than their offline compatriots?

Are you kidding me? Those offline guys don't know what hard work is. Mind you, I'm writing this at Cannes and they seem to be working really hard here until about 4am.

- What is the greatest misconception about the digital medium?

That "digital" is what the medium is about. It's not - it is about digital interactivity.

- How did you come to work in the digital industry?

Andy Hobsbawm made it sound fascinating and I also thought I would get to meet girls.

- What are your favourite websites?

BBC for news, Google for search, maps and web-mail, IMDB for film, iTunes for music, eBay for auctions, Wikipedia as my encyclopedia - great examples of user experience and quality content. Oh, and Arsenal.com, which is neither but I will not hear a word against it.

- How do you unwind away from the office?

With difficulty, but the following help: Martin Amis, JG Ballard, Ian McEwan, David Mamet, Martin Scorsese, Banksy, Radiohead, The Who, Fender, Arsenal, Ross on Saturday mornings, Texas Hold'em, Jasmine and Fabian (my children).

NIGEL MORRIS - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ISOBAR

- Are clients increasingly pitching their business on a global basis and why?

Yes. The world really is getting flatter and the web is central to this. The web is a window to all things a brand does all over the world, from anywhere, good and bad.

- Do clients need global agencies in local markets in order to service their business?

Absolutely. Four or five offices and a few translation and resizing services does not equal global. What you miss with this approach is the relevance, the real local context, cultural nuances, language nuances, different working practices and regulatory frameworks.

- How much local expertise do you need to service a global client?

It depends on the needs of their brand and business. Part of a real global network's role is to advise when they need a local approach and when they don't. But what is clear is that important local markets, from France to China, will not put up with inadequate local resource.

- What's the most important thing about servicing a global client?

Giving them access to creativity, innovation, diversity and excellence to produce brilliant work for all their key markets. And a global resource that gives them a window to the world and a neck to strangle.

- Do clients take digital seriously enough by involving senior management and allocating decent budgets, or do many still lag behind?

It's getting better. We have clients who absolutely do and yet, just the other day, one who said: "I don't like online - it lets people compare prices."

- Are there gaps in the digital offering offered by most agencies?

Yawning ones. The gaps in capability are big enough; the gaps in understanding are even more terrifying.

- Do enough offline creatives understand digital and would the industry benefit from enticing more talent from the offline side of the business?

There is fantastic talent on the offline side of the business. Isobar agencies such as glue and Farfar already attract and nurture offline people who are open to new things. The industry would benefit, but it's not always an easy switch. Creativity in a digital world is still driven by ideas, it is just that they have to be part of an open conversation rather than a linear story.

- Do digital agencies work harder than their offline compatriots?

Generally speaking, I think they do. It is so much more complex and change is happening so fast. To keep creating and innovating is the key to success but everything has to be explained and justified, explained and justified ...

- What is the greatest misconception about the digital medium?

That it is a medium.

- How did you come to work in the digital industry?

I got interested in technology through manufacturing in the textile and fashion industry.

- What are your favourite websites?

YouTube, Guardian Unlimited, racingpost, Betfair, BBC, Pandora - perfect examples of how the web delivers in a better way than traditional forms could ever do. This is why it is disrupting and subverting whole media and whole industries. The BA and HSBC sites make my life easier.

- How do you unwind away from the office?

Being roughed over by my boys, aged six and four. Running, music, film, reading, all sport.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).