Three Questions with Judy

Happy New Year! To kick off 2015, we sat down with our President and CEO, Judy Neer, and asked her to share what we’re seeing across all of Pile’s business areas, and what it means for marketers and agencies as they embark on a new year.

Here’s what she had to say in this month’s Three Questions.

1) How does the pressure on clients to meet aggressive marketing goals impact what they want and need from their agency partners?

The truth is—marketers want it all. Because they are under so much pressure within their own organizations, they expect their agencies to understand and assist in meeting their goals. In our Agency Search practice, we see clients looking for innovative thinking, but not just for the sake of being novel. They need agencies that bring new ideas that solve real business and communications challenges.

The increased focus on marketing goals has also led to more performance evaluations. Clients are recognizing that they must invest time in clarifying expectations, providing a forum for feedback and celebrating successes, so the agency feels more invested in the partnership and the client knows they are optimizing their investment. In a similar vein, we continue to see a rise in clients considering and implementing incentive-based compensation plans as another way to reward agencies for their contributions to clients’ businesses.

2) What’s the latest on in-house agencies?

We know from our professional association, IHAF, that the quality and breadth of work produced by in-house creative teams increased in 2014 at an even faster rate than the year prior. Clients with in-house resources are carefully considering what assignments they give to their internal agencies versus their external agencies. Juicier brand and creative assignments are staying inhouse.

We expect more companies to adopt the in-house agency model in conjunction with their external partners, and more creatives to join the corporate side. And we’ve found in speaking with our clients that those in-house and external agencies willing to evolve and partner, rather than resist the rapid changes in our industry, will be the ones to rise to the top of their lists.

3) And finally, for marketing and creative professionals, how is the hiring market?

Our Executive Search practice and creative staffing division, Communications Collaborative, echo the notion of the industry at large— we are currently in a candidate’s market. Companies are hiring again and candidates have the power of choice. And because candidates have the luxury of often choosing from multiple offers, we advise our clients to move quickly. If you don’t, someone else will. We expect that the healthy hiring market will continue into the New Year, which is good news for all.

In closing I’d like to wish everyone personal and professional success this year. I for one have already increased my time at the gym (according to my Fitbit), cut down on my wine consumption and now put my phone across the room during meals. Pretty good for January 7, right?!

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