MediaMonks MD: ‘Smart shoring’ the only way Australia can keep up
Post-Covid, Australia's marketers are racing to transform. Agencies are under huge pressure to deliver. Vinne Schifferstein Vidal, MD at S4 Capital-owned MediaMonks, thinks offshoring is the smart choice - and the only way to keep up.
What you need to know:
- Vinne Schifferstein Vidal says marketers can't wait months for a big, slow project from consultants.
- Brands need to transform-as-you-go.
- And the firm needs more salespeople.
CMOs and digital directors want to go faster. They don’t want a large consultancy to spend six months assessing their business and then come back with a massive PowerPoint.
It’s only March and already Australia’s media and marketing industry is stretched. Brands racing for digital transformation want more from their agencies, and they want it yesterday. According to MediaMonks ANZ MD, Vinne Schifferstein Vidal, offshoring is the answer.
Vidal refers to “smart shoring” in an attempt to dispel perceptions of low-cost, low-grade work.
Clients do end up with lower costs and higher value, but because specialists are turning around work faster, not necessarily because their rates are cheaper, she told Mi3.
“There can be a perception issue. But when brands see the quality that comes back, they don't have a problem anymore. Because the reality is that they can brief me now, and I have a response for them overnight.”
While S4 Capital’s founder, Sir Martin Sorrell, never knowingly misses an opportunity to kick sand at those running his erstwhile empire, Schifferstein Vidal agrees with Justin Ricketts, CEO of WPP-owned production house Hogarth, that a hybrid on-site offshore model is gaining traction.
“Post-Covid, there is even greater need for agility. CMOs and digital directors want to go faster. They don’t want a large consultancy to spend six months assessing their business and then come back with a massive PowerPoint. Brands have neither the time nor the money to go through those processes. They need to be much more pragmatic and start transforming as we go.”
MediaMonks – and S4 – is betting a blend of embedded teams and a global specialist network will win.
Bread and butter
While the group is building and buying specialties in regions that can deliver cost-savings, it has merged with specialist operators wherever they will improve the business, said Schifferstein Vidal.
She points to Caramel Pictures, a studio in the Netherlands “that for 25 years has only been shooting only foods and liquids. It is incredibly specialised, you won’t find that in each market.”
It’s a resource global clients such as Mondelez appreciate, said Schifferstein Vidal.
“Having an embedded team with overflow capability to those kind of special capabilities is a huge benefit.”
Despite talking up its offshore partnerships, the company is seeking further resource in Australia.
“We have hired aggressively, and we are in a very good place in terms of talent,” said Schifferstein Vidal. But MediaMonks needs more “smart salespeople” in a bid to hit Sir Martin’s ambitious growth targets (and avoid a digital drop-off he thinks may be coming in 2023).
“In the end, everyone is a salesperson. But the particular talent we require are those that can blend sales, consultancy and strategy,” she added.
“CMOs here have a very strong vision. But many struggle to execute that vision, because it becomes so dependent upon technology. Hence that smart sales approach is so important. Because we’re not selling cupcakes, we’re delivering brand transformation and virtualisation.”
Specsavers head of market and planning, Shaun Briggs, needed a big brand hit to kick-start life after Covid. MAFS was hardly love at first sight. But it quickly grew – literally – as the brand, its agency AJF Partnership, and Nine’s Powered creative unit delivered a bespoke integration within weeks. For Briggs, “it’s been an eye opener”.