When Mary Meeker famously predicted that Facebook and Google would snare 70 cents in every ad dollar by 2020 the tech visionary’s comments sent a collective wave of panic across media agencies around the globe.
And whether her words prove prophetic or not, according to MediaCom’s Australia’s chief digital officer, Willie Pang (pictured above), it was a wake-up call for agencies found wanting in the data and tech space.
Pang was appointed to the role 12 months ago by newly installed CEO Sean Seamer with a remit to transform the media agency’s tech offerings to clients.
In fact, marketing guru Andy Lark praised the agency’s tech transformation in an interview with B&T last week.
When it comes to the Meeker prediction, Pang tells B&T that two monster players sucking up all the ad cash should have alarm bells ringing not only for agencies but for marketers, too.
“That lack of fragmentation should be a real worry for marketers, I think,” he said. “MediaCom’s job is to find the best possible outcomes for our clients across all the channels. If Facebook and Google have a monopoly on the data set and then hold it back from the Proctor and Gambles or the Carlton and United Breweries of this world then it’s actually a massive strategic risk for them.”
Pang added that rather than concede to Zuckerberg and co, GroupM (MediaCom’s parent) planned to use its global might to take the adtech fight to them.
“The opportunity is that GroupM, being so big globally, gives us great scale. Marketing will, into the future, be driven by data and data is essentially the core of strategic advantage for corporations and MediaCom has recognised that we need to be playing in that space.
“That means brands that work with MediaCom, we can take their data and use it against every other client that works with GroupM around the world and that gives a client insights that rival what Facebook and Google could give you. You have to play along with these adtech guys to survive.
“If you get to that Mary Meeker state where you have Facebook and Google taking 70 cents in every dollar you are trading with people who have you at a scale disadvantage and an information and data disadvantage,” Pang said.
MediaCom is now offering its local clients a data management solution – the first GroupM agency to do it anywhere in the world, according to Pang – that provides the client with software that can bring all their data together in the one spot rather and significantly improve the insights a client can get from it.
“This is the big macro change you’re seeing in the industry,” Pang added, “It’s MediaCom saying to clients we’ll give you the software to house your data in and that can sit alongside the client strategy, the creative strategy, the business strategy, your ecommerce strategy. And that lets brands have far better personalisation with their customers.”