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
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
Zenith Media managing partner Theresa Coligan concurs: ’Sales staff
aren’t taught to sell multimedia whereas media planners operate across
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.