NEWS ANALYSIS: Uncertainty for sales staff in Emap’s consumer restructure - But a cross-media focus is good news for agencies. Colin Grimshaw reports

Agencies have given a cautious welcome to Emap’s plans for a new cross-media sales operation, headed by Tom Toumazis. But there’s no doubt that the former Emap On Air managing director has a challenge on his hands as he endeavours to create a sales structure that reflects the brave new multimedia world.

Agencies have given a cautious welcome to Emap’s plans for a new

cross-media sales operation, headed by Tom Toumazis. But there’s no

doubt that the former Emap On Air managing director has a challenge on

his hands as he endeavours to create a sales structure that reflects the

brave new multimedia world.



The proposed flatter organisational structure will inevitably mean fewer

management positions. The squeamish, who would rather not hear the sound

of noses being put out of joint, should avoid lingering outside

Toumazis’ office. As one ex-employee points out: ’Other companies pay

more but one of the big plusses at Emap was the chance of early

promotion and a fancy title.’



In any reorganisation, there are winners and losers. Faced with the

prospect of retraining and suffering a perceived reduction in status, it

will come as no surprise if a number of sales staff decide to follow the

recent exodus to IPC and other publishers.



But for those who remain, there is the chance to get on the digital

bandwagon and learn the kind of cross-media selling skills that are

increasingly in demand.



The operation should also benefit from a reduction in the cumbersome

layers of management and decision making. As one senior agency director

says: ’There were always more chiefs than Indians.’ And, given the new

sales brief, Toumazis would probably rather lose some staff than be

forced to put square pegs in round holes.



The key positions in the new set-up will be the ’market makers’, thought

to number four, who will present larger multimedia opportunities at a

senior customer level and funnel down sales leads to the market

teams.



But agency executives question whether Emap has enough staff with

cross-media skills and, perhaps unsurprisingly, believe that agency

people should fill the positions.



’They will need to invest in personnel and the market makers should have

an agency background,’ says MediaVest client services director Nigel

Conway.



Zenith Media managing partner Theresa Coligan concurs: ’Sales staff

aren’t taught to sell multimedia whereas media planners operate across

different media.’



Otherwise, the agency reaction is generally positive. ’Fantastic. It’s

an excellent idea and Emap is brave enough to put its money where its

mouth is,’ enthuses MediaCom TMB director Clive Howse. ’It’s great that

we can go to a single media owner and get a mix of media solutions,

which is particularly important for clients in the youth market.’



Of course, Howse is also expecting to get great deals in return for

putting all his eggs in one basket.



Conway also applauds the initiative, but warns Emap that it risks

alienating agency creatives if it becomes too proactive in pushing

multimedia solutions, as the creatives see themselves as custodians of

clients’ brand values.



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