Mediaweek Agency 50: Mark Coad on Mediabrands achievements and optimism for 2023

January 9, 2023 | Share this article

Mediaweek held its inaugural Power Lunch in October, celebrating the successes of the media industry and the people who make it.

Taking number three on the Agency 50 list was Mark Coad, CEO of IPG Mediabrands.

Mediaweek caught up with Coad as he reflected on Mediabrands’ achievements, the industry issues on his mind and shared his outlook for the year ahead.

Mediaweek: Congratulations on making the #3 spot on our Mediaweek Agency 50 list. What was your reaction to your placement?

Mark Coad: It’s quite humbling to be honest, but very pleasing to be recognised. I’ve never chased individual awards, I prefer the team game and I know many of my industry colleagues are the same, so nice to be called out occasionally.

MW: How does your position on the list reflect the achievements made by Mediabrands?

MC: I think my position on the list is ALL about the achievements of Mediabrands. I’m very lucky to be supported by many people here who have helped do that – I certainly have not done it by myself. I think all of these awards are intrinsically linked to the companies we all work for – their size, their momentum and their successes.

MW: What are three industry issues on your mind, and in your opinion, how can they be solved or achieved?

MC: The first one is talent shortage – and there is no hard and fast fix to that. Quite simply – we need to increase the number of good people working in our industry. We can only do that by hiring from outside of our industry as well as from within. The MFA are working on that now and all member agencies have pledged at the recent MFA AGM to do just that – a commitment that at least 10% of all new hires (excl. graduates) come from outside of the industry.. It’s the 1 in 10 pledge, and it’s a great start.

The second is trust in our industry. That has been improved dramatically in recent years and remains a work in progress. That has been achieved via a combination of calling out bad behaviours, contributing to industry discussion and building the voice of the industry to commentators, regulators and participants.

The third is the ongoing effort to have the work we do valued appropriately. I’m all for cost benchmarking and procurement sourced pricing, BUT…we must find ways to value innovation, creativity, effectiveness and the business outcomes we are contributing to. There are a hundred ways to drive cost down and I always get frustrated when I think that is being done to the detriment (or in isolation) to results. The solve here is ongoing education of the role we play and continual reinforcement that we are all in the business of driving growth as opposed to buying the cheapest possible impressions.

MW: What is your outlook for Mediabrands in 2023?

MC: We have a business plan for next year that continues to show growth ahead of market – and we remain optimistic about that because of the momentum we carry, fuelled largely by the wins we have had this year. We have done a tremendous amount of work automating many parts of the menial and manual aspects of a media agency.

Loading, matching, reconciling are all tasks now done by bots in our agencies. That is appealing for many of our people, or those considering a role here – as it frees them up to do far more challenging roles and allows better use of their time. We’re looking forward to the challenges 2023 will undoubtedly throw at us.

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