Blamer: Tie Compensation to Results

NEW YORK Foote Cone & Belding CEO Steve Blamer called for results-based agency compensation during a presentation at Interpublic Group’s daylong investors conference here today.

Blamer stressed a need for marketing companies to “put skin in the game” for their clients. That is, to be compensated not necessarily by commissions and fees, but based on how well its marketing and advertising programs increase a client’s business.

The concept is not new and has been floated in the past by other agency leaders, but during the morning session of IPG’s presentations to analysts, Blamer was the only agency head to touch on the subject.

He said such a model would create higher agency margins and deepen relationships with clients. “Pay me based on results,” Blamer said.

The scope of client relationships was also the crux of remarks by McCann Worldgroup CEO John Dooner, who in a separate session said creativity would remain the “cornerstone” of Worldgroup’s offerings, though integration and measurable results are equally as important to increasingly demanding clients.

“Creativity is the cornerstone of what we do. And it’s forever,” Dooner said. In terms of integration and measurable results, he stressed that Worldgroup companies strive together across different disciplines to accomplish that mission.

Meanwhile, Blamer and FCBi CEO Pam Larrick discussed FCB’s new go-to-market orientation.

Its three basic elements involve gathering insight about clients, consumers and competitors; a proprietary tool called The Rumble in which eight to 10 staffers from around the global network convene for one week to attack a client problem and present solutions by week’s end; and as explained by Larrick, “the moment”—getting the media plan just right so that the message intersects with consumers at the moment they’d be most receptive to it.

Larrick presented the agency’s deeply integrated work for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which involves TV, print, outdoor, viral, guerilla and various online games and quizzes for its “Above the influence” campaign.

When asked of plans to shift the agency’s balance from 61 percent domestic resources and 39 percent international, Blamer responded that he wished it were a 50-50 balance. But because of a necessary restructuring in which the overseas workforce was reduced by 300 staffers last year, the balance remains in the U.S. He noted however, that many of the network’s resources redeployed overseas were in markets where it is strongly positioned—India, South Africa, Brazil and China are getting the majority of investment, he said.