When you’re fashioning what’s designed to be a cutting-edge marketing agency, it’s good to know what not to do. One example is not trying to recreate what a creative agency does but being flexible when it comes to deciding who produces content for clients.

“We’re set up to be super flexible,” says Noah Mallin, Head of Experience, Content & Sponsorship, Wavemaker North America. “What that means is we’re not hung up on the idea that we always have to be the one creating every last piece of content.”

In this interview with Beet.TV, Mallin talks about client expectations and creating messaging that doesn’t look like messaging.

He starts with the reality that people are increasingly getting entertainment “and living their lives away from what we would consider ad-supported environments.” While this doesn’t mean they’re not exposed to any ads, “if we just think about that as the only way of reaching people, we’re not really going as far as we can and should be going.”

The job of Mallin’s team is to bring brand experiences to life in any and all venues and “not just showing them the same old thing they’re going to see from any other brand.”

Two big client expectations are an abundance of data to understand consumers in all contextual permutations and reach them in compelling ways they won’t choose to ignore.

“It doesn’t read to them like messaging,” Mallin says. “It reads to them as an experience they can actually take part in and they can have some impact on. Those are two big, tough things to do, especially doing them together.”

Wavemaker is open to working with clients’ own content, creative from partner agencies or third parties and helping to figure out how best to version it. Just because something works well on, say, YouTube doesn’t mean it will do so in display environments or “in the back of an airplane seat.”

There will be times when Wavemaker, a unit of GroupM, will produce content itself “because that’s just the right thing to do and we know we can do it more efficiently than a partner might do it.”

One thing the agency won’t do is try to recreate what a creative agency does “because that’s a very specific model that works well for those agencies.”

Rather, Mallin believes the better approach is to be “super flexible and based on trying to solve problems that exist and friction that exists in reaching the right audience with the right content at the right time.”

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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