An analyst, a creative and a technologist all walk into a bar…

Jason Dooris

Jason Dooris is the CEO and founder of growing Atomic 212, Australia's fastest growing media and marketing agency on the BRW 2014 list. Over the past 20 years, Jason has held a variety of senior local and global industry positions including CEO MediaCom UK, deputy CEO MediaCom Europe, GM Saatchi & Saatchi NZ, GM Ogilvy & Mather Australia, GM Dentsu Aegis Australia and consulting practice director, Deloitte Asia. His vertical experience covers most categories with a particular focus on retail, automotive and FMCG.

It’s time to get rid of departmental silos. Not just talk about it. Do it.

This is not a new concept. For years, the marketing industry, and by association the agencies that service it, have been moving in this direction. Marketers and agency heads speak of a world of open plan offices, where technologists and analysts sit next to content marketers and copywriters, where account managers develop creative ideas, where data and creativity are one and the same.

There are plenty of companies that seem to be doing this well. A prime example, unsurprisingly, is Google – the company’s offices are not only aesthetically cool, they provide the foundation for an underlying culture which champions the melding of ideas and technology. This is the money shot.

Which is why I am surprised to find that on agency side, so many top players are still caught up in traditional ways of thinking. The digital team sits at one end of the office, while the strategy people have another corner, and the space between them is like a No Man’s Land. The extreme version of this is the specialist agency, which focuses purely on digital or design or production.

But the best results emerge when you put a data geek and a developer and a search specialist in the same room as a creative and a designer and a PR practitioner.

I’m not suggesting every person should be a Jack of all trades; far from it. But I am suggesting every agency should be combining as many different skillsets together as possible, preferably with as much diversity as possible too. This means people from different cultural backgrounds, different genders, different ages. You’d be surprised where the best ideas come from.

Recently, one of our content guys came up with a great creative concept for one of our clients involving a huge amount of PR and owned content. The idea was impressive, and he wanted to pitch it to the client. I told him to hold off, to speak with our search and data guys first. The result was a campaign that was creatively pleasing and which also fostered leads and return on investment.

No longer can creatives sit back and hope a ‘great idea’ translates into results – you need to leverage that idea across the appropriate channels, you need to reach the right audiences and find unique and creative ways to use data and generate conversions.

The media industry is changing so quickly, in line with consumers, and the specialist skillsets required of marketers are becoming increasingly disparate. It’s impossible for one individual to understand everything, and this is where collaboration comes to the fore. Bring everything under the same roof and watch the results flow, that’s my motto. Sometimes we aren’t even working in the traditional marketing space; sometimes we seem to be operating as a consultancy more than a media agency, but that’s fine with me.

The real trick is getting these different people to work together and produce truly innovative work. The challenge is getting a creative excited about data and analytics.

For instance, Atomic 212 recently teamed up with Salesforce division, Social.com, to develop an Australia-first Facebook tool which optimises creative advertising on Facebook according to which creative generates the most revenue. One of our data geeks developed a bespoke and incredibly complex code, and collaborated with one of our account directors, and they delivered gold.

I won’t even pretend to understand the complex technology and coding that went into this project, but that’s exactly my point: We don’t all need to be technological gurus to get results, we just need a diverse team with different skillsets.

Tags: digital marketing

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