How do you reboot an agency to take on more of marketers’ problems in a world where consumer change is fast and furious? In the case of GroupM’s Wavemaker, it’s thinking far beyond simply combining agencies Maxus and MEC.

“It has to be more than a merger. If all we did was take two great brands and cultures and teams and mesh them together, we have failed,” says Amanda Richman, U.S. CEO of Wavemaker, the global media, content and technology agency unveiled one year ago.

In this interview with Beet.TV, Richman explains the impetus behind creating Wavemaker was “Let’s really reboot and redesign what a modern marketing agency is. With a single focus on the consumer journey and with that understanding how we can grow our clients’ revenues and opportunities in the marketplace.”

If Wavemaker sounds more like a consultancy with traditional and contemporary media chops, it’s not far off the mark. “The future of the agency business has definitely shifted to not just buying on impressions and cheapest CPM and fill out the pricing template,” Richman says, noting that there’s still a component of investment management that’s about driving efficiency.

“But as you think about our role today in the middle of the ecosystem, in having to not only understand and embrace and evolve our clients’ approach to data but also to their broader business issues.”

Richman, who was appointed U.S. CEO last August, sees an opportunity to “get a greater share” of clients’ problems along with providing a greater share of solutions to solve the challenges they face. This entails having a “laser focus on consumer understanding,” not only from a purchase journey lens but how are they adopting and adapting to the breadth of content and distribution opportunities.

“Our role is really sifting through all of that to find out what’s most meaningful and relevant to their consumers and what’s the brand relationship that can be established with those insights,” Richman says.

This involves not just another innovation play or understanding what the next platform is, the next channel, the next partner. “It’s all of that and so much more that really leads to a deeper understanding of their audience and how to move them to that next step forward.”

She’s looking forward to being able to “really hit reset in this robust environment, listen more to our clients and understand what are their needs when it comes to an agency today and build around that.”

This video is part of a leadership series presented by Wavemaker, the GroupM media agency formed by the merger of MEC and Maxus. Please find additional segments from the series here.

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