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GroupM’s Dominic Proctor: ‘We will become data management businesses’

GroupM’s Dominic Proctor: ‘We will become data management businesses’

The rapid pace of change in media and marketing is going to require specialist agencies to engage “relentless collaboration”, according to GroupM’s global president Dominic Proctor.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Media Global in Rome, Proctor – who attended that first event in Venice in 2007 – reflected on some of the issues driving the industry a decade ago.

These included the question of whether media agencies could reach the “top table” with clients, in wielding influence and becoming a trusted partner, and the growing role of data and content.

While Proctor gave the industry a mixed scorecard for its handling of these changes, he does believe the media world has moved toward “centre stage” in wider industry discussions – and that agencies have done a “pretty good” job of this newly-prominent role.

“If we could foresee our role would become much broader, and that we would move from left of stage to centre of stage, that is dangerous as you are surrounded by more competitors,” he said. “It is a brave strategy, and a sign of growing up, but it is about how you cope with it. We’ve become quite ambidextrous.”

Looking to the future, Proctor warned that the pace of change is only set to increase, and that brands, agencies and media owners should anticipate a decade’s worth of growth in the coming three years.

He believes that topics such as addressable TV advertising will become the next driver of the media industry, and he says agencies must do more to find the right types of talent: “As we move into a more automated and real-time phase, we have become fairly good at bringing in a more diverse body of talent.

“But we don’t attract enough A-grade or triple A-grade grads into our industry, anywhere in the world.”

And agencies must improve and develop their approach to data, he said. “The story on data is only going to increase, and the reliance [on data] become more. We will become data management businesses as well as media investment management businesses,” said Proctor.

The whole set-up of agencies as we know it may even change, he added: “Internal disciplines will disappear. We will do everything. The whole thing requires more relentless collaboration of specialists.”