Business development managers who visit these pages will be aware that we often like to focus on up-and-coming companies here; but every now and then, a distinguished veteran of Adland offers some insights that are too important to ignore. Bob Greenberg, co-founder, CEO and Chairman of advertising agency R/GA has been doing a little ‘wisdom dispensing’ as he prepares to be inducted into AdAge’s Advertising Hall of Fame. If you’re a business development manager who likes creativity heavily laced with wisdom, Greenberg is too good to be missed.
He told AdAge that advertising agencies face exciting but disorientating disruptions, perhaps the most pivotal of which will be the systematic intersection of technology (including information and the interactive aspects of the internet like mobile and social) with physical space, most especially retail.
He calls this “functional integration”, a development which places the consumer at the center surrounded by services and products. This was essentially what Apple and Google realized. Greenberg explained:
“What [Steve] Jobs was able to do was to create products and services that were integrated so the consumer would buy many of them rather than just one. So the new models are what we call functionally integrated companies that have products and services that tie together into a platform and then into an ecosystem.”
One part of the company’s product and service repertoire builds on another, like Nike+Fuel, to produce what the company itself calls “a single, universal way to measure all kinds of activities, from your morning run to your big night out.”
And on the subject of products like this that collect data on user activity, Greenberg wagers that the emphasis is now shifting from big data to what he calls “earned data”: if you’re a member of a running club, for example, you won’t be put off by the fact that Nike+ FuelBand shares your information because it gets combined and fed back to you in a useful way. It’s “earned” as opposed to simply taken.
Interestingly for business development managers who focus on online advertising sales, Greenberg thinks there will be a move toward TV advertising again rather than a simple, inexorable shift to online, mobile and social.
Storytelling, Greenberg says, isn’t going away – which is why R/GA has started getting back into TV ads.