The traditional consumer purchase “funnel” doesn’t carry much weight with new marketing agency Wavemaker. “A lot of communication agencies out there look at the purchase journey as a funnel and really it’s not that whatsoever. It’s actually quite cyclical,” says Derek Bhopalsingh, VP, Digital, Wavemaker Canada.

The new GroupM agency that launched in the U.S. last November debuted in Canada in January 2018, led by CEO Ann Stewart, formerly CEO of Maxus Canada. In this interview with Beet.TV, Bhopalsingh explains what clients are looking for in a modern agency and why being slightly behind the consumer trends curve has its advantages in the Great White North.

One of the key things in the creation of Wavemaker was to be able to identify and prioritize client needs. “Trading on media inventory is table stakes,” says Bhopalsingh, whose background includes stints at Aegis, OMD and MEC. “It’s expected of us but as consumers have evolved, as technology has evolved, clients’ needs of media agencies have evolved as well.”

Helping marketers navigate “the new consumer journey” and how it evolves requires covering many bases.

“That can extend from anything from paid media though to omni-channel experiences to how they collect and analyze data to impact their business,” Bhopalsingh adds.

What others call a purchase funnel Wavemaker sees as “momentum.” The rationale is that consumers will always be impacted by messages they see in-market, even if they’re not at the stage of actual purchase consideration of, say, an automobile.

“Even though I may not be in the market for a vehicle, I’m constantly seeing messages and making subconscious decisions about the brands that I like and align with.”

Eventually, that leads to a “trigger phase,” which could be having a child, starting a new job or something along those lines, according to Bhopalsingh. “You then move into different phases where you are evaluating and through to purchase.”

Canada is unique in the sense that a lot of the technologies on display at events like CES 2018 will take about a year and sometimes two or three to reach the market. “Things tend to roll out in Europe, Asia Pacific and the U.S. rather quickly. It gives us a bit of leeway and a runway to help prepare our clients.”

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.