Fast 10: Wavemaker’s Peter Vogel On Pitching, Unwinding & Frustrating Bureaucracy

Fast 10: Wavemaker’s Peter Vogel On Pitching, Unwinding & Frustrating Bureaucracy

Peter Vogel, CEO of Wavemaker, had an incredible 2023, not least for leading his agency to become B&T’s media agency of the year. But what does 2024 hold? Voges sat down with Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham to chat leadership, winning gongs and whether Wavemaker is now the favourite child at GroupM.

1. Last year Wavemaker had a brilliant year, winning B&T Media Agency of the Year and a slew of other awards. Can you continue the momentum this year?

Absolutely! Awards, recognition, and business momentum are only the outcomes of trusted client relationships, nurturing great talent, and developing effective work.

At Wavemaker, we are relentlessly focused on our clients and our people – if we do a good job with both, the rest follows. We work hard at developing long-standing client partnerships by continually looking for better ways to grow their brands and businesses through positive provocation. And we have a really talented Wavemaker team that truly buys into our ambition and the way we show up. This makes me confident that we can maintain our momentum this year.

2. What’s driving your current success, besides the obvious great leadership?

Very simply, it is based on understanding our clients’ businesses, having a passion for what we do, always being curious and continually striving to be better. This is what being a Wavemaker is all about.

3. How is the year ahead shaping up for your diverse client base?

Optimistic! We have a fantastic base of client partners, who all have strong businesses and clear visions for growth.

Our clients include a combination of iconic Australian organisations, new economy businesses and multinational power brands. All our clients are on transformation journeys; improving their customers’ experiences, engaging with consumers in more authentic ways, and developing new innovative ways of transacting. Growth is now picking up as inflation declines and pressures on household income start to ease. So, with a future-focused client base and improving economic fundamentals, there is optimism for 2024 from us and our clients.

4. With your recent success is Wavemaker the favorite child within GroupM?

I would like to think so, but then I’m obviously biased!

We have three great agencies at GroupM – all with very distinct positionings and all supported by GroupM’s influence, intelligence and technology. We win together when we are all doing well. All I can say is that Wavemaker is most definitely my favourite!

5. What’s your number one priority for ’24?

Transformative Growth! Buzzword? Maybe, but this is definitely my priority.

Our industry is so dynamic and fast-moving, with new technologies, new platforms, changing consumer trends, new economies and insurgent brands. This opens up a wealth of opportunity. So we are continually keeping our clients at the forefront of these changes; unlocking new sources of growth, taking advantage of new opportunities, future-proofing their route to market, and engaging with cross-generational audiences in relevant ways. This is what transformative growth is all about – with our publisher partnerships, bespoke technologies, access to intelligent data, deep consumer insights, and capabilities in creating customer experiences, we are well-positioned to deliver on this for our clients.

6. How would your clients and staff describe your leadership style?

Hopefully, the following words would be mentioned: supportive, involved, committed, authentic, upbeat and someone who delivers.

7. What do you do to unwind and recharge the batteries?

The thing I like most is spending quality time with family and friends – usually sharing a meal together. I am a fairly social person, so I really like being with people I like. Other than this, a long peaceful walk on the beach, or watching the frenetic action of an F1 race, is what I do to unwind.

8. You always seem happy and upbeat, what if anything pisses you off?

There isn’t a lot that pisses me off. However, there are a few things I don’t like. Bureaucracy frustrates me to no end. A lack of passion irritates me. I don’t like losing. But it’s bad behaviour like bullying, arrogance or rudeness, that really, really, pisses me off.

9. Can you tell us something that’s not on your LinkedIn profile?

The wonderful personal stuff in my life is not on my business LinkedIn. I have the most amazing wife, Lynette, who I have been married to for over 30 years (everyone says that she is the best part of me). And I have the most incredible 24-year-old daughter, Hannah, who I couldn’t be more proud of.

10. You are an experienced and wise leader, what’s the one thing you would change to ensure our industry is better in the future?

Reduce the amount of pitching in our industry. Healthy long-term relationships are a cornerstone of life; our life partners, families, friends – and even clients talk about customer lifetime value.

We have tremendously talented people in our industry, that diligently work on managing clients’ media investments, helping them grow their brands and consumer engagement. Pitching can unearth innovative thinking, fresh ideas and ways of working, and we go into every pitch with our eye on building a long-term partnership, but I often wonder why so many clients pitch their business every few years.

Commitment breeds loyalty, knowledge, and an ambition to always be better. There is value in a deep understanding of a client’s business and industry. We should all be more focused on innovative ways to drive sustainable growth, rather than chasing short-term savings.

Check out the rest of the Fast 10 series here:

Please login with linkedin to comment

Fast 10 wavemaker

Latest News

Tara Ford To Serve On Titanium Jury At Cannes Lions
  • Advertising

Tara Ford To Serve On Titanium Jury At Cannes Lions

Tara Ford, chief creative officer of The Monkeys and Accenture Song, is set to serve on the Titanium jury at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The Aussie adland legend said that she “can’t wait” to join the panel of judges and that the Award was particularly close to her heart. “Titanium is […]

“Be Like A Skunk At A Garden Party”: Author Patrick Radden Keefe On Investigating Pharma
  • Marketing

“Be Like A Skunk At A Garden Party”: Author Patrick Radden Keefe On Investigating Pharma

Patrick Radden Keefe (pictured), author of global bestseller, Empire of Pain, talked to B&T‘s Nancy Hromin at the Samsung Jaipur Literary Festival about reputation laundering, aggressive marketing strategies and the privilege of still being able to practice pure journalism and be paid for it. Keefe’s in-depth reporting in publications such as The New Yorker and […]