In the fast-changing world of communications, media agencies routinely have to reconfigure themselves for new demands and to re-settle their earlier growth initiatives.

In its latest such exercise, WPP’s GroupM has just undergone a multi-layered reorganization.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Kirk McDonald, CEO, GroupM, NA, outlines how the group is changing, and how it is investing in staff in what some see as a “talent crisis“.

GroupM re-groups

“We are actually bringing media closer to creative inside of WPP,” McDonald says.

“It’s important for us to understand, and bring to life, the relationship between technology data analytics as a core part of how our clients actually execute their plans with the scaled services that we’ve had in other parts of the organization.”

That started three years ago when GroupM began integrating performance marketing agency Neo with Mindshare.

In April, GroupM said it would also now merge its Essence and MediaCom agencies. McDonald says that leaves GroupM’s “three principle media entities” as follows:

  • EssenceMediacom
  • Mindshare, fully integrated with Neo
  • Wavemaker

The group is also forming GroupM Nexus, a performance marketing-focused division, out of Finecast, Xaxis and GroupM Services.

Up-skill inside

In the last couple of years, concern has been raised in the industry that agencies are suffering a “talent crisis”.

But GroupM’s McDonald says that is not how it looks from his seat.

“We’ve decided that it’s only a talent crisis if you don’t have a plan,” he says.

“We’ve actually put $15 million towards learning and development programmes and started partnerships to really double down on how we invest in new and the talent development of our existing teams,” McDonald explains.

“We’ve relaunched programmes inside of a new umbrella programme called GroupM University.

Invest in education

The “university” includes a Launchpad initiative to re-skill and up-skill talent for the media industry.

GroupM has also joined-up up with some universities and other holding companies for a programme called BIC, Branded + Integrated and Communications, at CCNY.

“We’ve put aside our differences and really decide to invest in the diversification of talent through this programme,” McDonald says.

“It’s a masters-level programme. $300,000 has been put towards a scholarship that will support students in this programme.”