CANNES — If you thought the the turbulence of the pandemic was over, think again.

Across business, companies are wrestling with the challenges thrown up by the up-ending of traditional working practices.

In this interview with Forrester VP, principal analyst, Joanna O’Connell for Beet.TV, Stephanie Dorman, Chief Customer Officer, Mediaocean, explains what customers of the massive ad spending platform are dealing with.

Dorman says companies are facing a talent war and spiralling salaries at the same time as seeking efficiencies, global expansion and wholesale transformation.

Talent trouble

“The talent is more expensive now, period,” she says. “You need to be prepared to increase your salaries and your bonus structures by 10, 20%, if not even more.

“You’ve got an attrition rate that’s hovering around 50% right now for the agencies.”

Dorman says Mediaocean is seeing some customers lose experienced talent, many retire early, others move across the country. The stress of the pandemic, plus the new reality of remote work enablement, has up-ended things.

“Everybody is trying to grapple with wanting to have a workforce that is collaborative and together and united while also appealing to the fact that people don’t want to commute anymore,” Dorman adds.

The ad platform

For more than 50 years, Mediaocean, formerly known as Donavan Data Systems, has been providing software solutions across media channels for advertisers and sellers, powering ad management, inventory and billing.

About $200 billion in annualized media spending goes through its platform, or about a third of the global total.

That gives Mediaocean and Dorman significant empathy as to customers’ priorities and challenges.

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Reset for efficiency

Dorman says there may be advantages to the new ways of working.

“Talent is actually really hard to find right now – at the same time everybody wants to be efficient,” she says. “So there is a slight plus side to some of the resignations. It gives every organization an opportunity to say, ‘okay, how do I reset?'”

She says companies are asking questions like: “How can I do this differently? And how can I structure differently to handle things like converged buying? How do I bring teams together? How do I bring the right skillsets in?”

Dorman explains: “That is really what’s happening right now. Folks are trying to figure out how to reorganize.”

Going global

The particular kind of reorganization being sought is global in scale. Which is to say, companies want to settle on common practices that drive efficiency across their locations and operations.

“They want to set global standards,” Dorman explains. “They want to have technology stacks that are global. They want reporting to be global. It’s really difficult to do that when you need to have local attention.”

Mediaocean‘s Dorman says it is agencies, not brands, who are wrestling with that globalisation question.

“Brands, in many cases, have been more global for longer, so they tend to have a better sense of how to structure organizationally,” she says.

By contrast, large agency holding groups often operate distinct in-market divisions. Now the holding groups are trying to centralise and standardise functions through people and technology.

Transformation trouble

Often, companies are bringing in new kinds of executives charged with driving this change.

Dorman reports some customers hiring C-level “transformation” roles, others bringing in senior hires with project management or IT backgrounds. But she says efforts are often hamstrung by having only one or two people dedicated to driving the efficiencies.

Such is the conundrum in the new working reality.

“You really want to make sure that you’re fast, you have massive velocity, but, at the same time, you’re doing it with less people,” Dorman says.

Integration partner

Dorman volunteers Mediaocean as a key partner for companies as they face the challenges.

Today, many such companies are asking for help organization system intregrations.

She says the company’s software can be “the centrepiece of a global tech stack”

You are watching ‘The Mediaocean Retreat’, a Beet.TV Leadership Summit at Cannes Lions 2022.

For more videos from this series, please visit this page.

Beet.TV is an official partner of Cannes Lions.