Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Planning Your Next Move in Ad Land

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- For many, 2009 will be remembered as a year the marketing world will happily put behind it. The lingering recession has depressed consumer spending and marketers have sharply curtailed their outlays on advertising. Two Detroit automakers filed for bankruptcy. TV and print have been trying to find their way in a digital future and agencies have been put in a vise by clients demanding better return on investment.

A new decade might mean a fresh start, but there will be significant challenges ahead in ad land. Ad Age asked its correspondents to look ahead to the coming year and identify the single-most important issue faced by the industries they cover in 2010.

Chat with any agency executive these days and there's a good chance the dreaded "procurement" word makes its way into the conversation. It's a safe bet that pushback from agencies will continue in 2010.

Although clients have long invited procurement departments to weigh in as they choose their ad agency partners and decide how to compensate them, the amount of power procurers wielded grew as the economy worsened and marketing budgets were stretched. In 2009, it wasn't chief marketing officers, but procurement officers who were increasingly leading the discussion in ad-agency reviews. Decisions in some of the biggest pitches of last year -- from media duties for Danone to creative duties for Volkswagen and UPS -- leaned heavily on what procurement had to say.

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