Want to determine the fate of our industry? Focus on the people

Written by Kelly Wenzel, CMO, Centro

Advertising has always been – and will continue to be – a service industry, a people business. It’s one that relies on distinctly human contributions: ideas, creativity, connection, story-telling. Given Centro’s intense focus on employee happiness and well-being, we partnered with Digiday to survey the digital labor force to assess what the state of our people tells us about the fate of our industry.

These findings are based on survey results from nearly 400 professionals from both the buy and sell side, across all functions and levels of seniority. The research raises some interesting questions:

• Can your business survive 40 percent or higher turnover? Can you calculate the loss of knowledge, productivity and morale – let alone the interruption to client service levels – if nearly half your staff left within the next 12 months?

• Respondents stated that challenges primarily center on insufficient resources and tools. Despite the staggering pace of technological advances, why are some of the most basic processes in our industry still highly manual and inefficient?

• In a resounding wake-up call to ad tech vendors, a whopping 75% of respondents say their vendors are only “somewhat helpful” or worse. How long will agencies and brands suffer this low bar of mediocrity?

No one is calling for a workplace revolution quite yet, but clearly, we can do better. As an industry, we may lament the complexity that plagues digital media and crack the tired jokes about the logo eye-chart that is the Lumascape, but the rising tide of M&A we’ve seen in the last few years has yet to impact the front lines. The data shows our people still rely on too many disparate systems – many with poor user experiences – to do their jobs.

For all that we, as an industry, revere the shiny new object/app/tool, we’ve yet to harness the power of technology to make a difference where it matters most. We have the potential to make our media dollars go farther and our campaigns more effective, but also to better the lives of the people who power this business. Imagine the possibilities if we could give our talent one of the most precious resources: time — for creativity, big ideas and strategic thinking.

It’s time to change the way we work.

Click here for the full report.


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