Initiative’s Geoff Clarke: ‘Youth Hits Targets With Enthusiasm, Experience Hits The Targets You Can’t See’

May 2, 2024 | Share this article

There are few in adland with such vast experience as IPG Mediabrands and Initiative’s chief operating officer Geoff Clarke. Starting in the industry more than 30 years ago, Clarke has held positions such as investment director, chief investment officer, client partner and managing director.

Speaking on behalf of the Experience Advocacy Taskforce, Clarke explained why agencies need to ensure that they hold onto talented older staff.

B&T: Why is it important for the advertising industry to embrace experience and experienced members of staff as much as it embraces newness?

GC: In short, so we protect the long-term value of our industry’s intellectual property.

When you boil it down to its very core, we’re in the business of investing in people, and in doing so, it’s vital that we not only provide the very best possible start to someone’s career but ensure its longevity. It makes no sense to invest significant time, effort and money developing someone, to not benefit from that investment over the long term.

Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see”. I like this quote as for me it defines what we are attempting to deliver for our clients every day. Youth, with all of its enthusiasm, bravado, and commitment will definitely hit targets no one else can hit but only through a lifetime of business experiences will you be able to hit targets no one can see.

If you allow me to extend further, all clients pay their agency partner to hit the target no one can hit, however, the smart clients will pay for their agency partner to hit the target no one else can see. That takes experience! The value of someone’s Individual IP is something I believe we do not spend enough time discussing, as nurturing talent and helping people to evolve, improves the agency | client value equation.

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