WPP’s Sorrels: Flat is the New Up
WPP’s Martin Sorrels sat down with The Wall Street Journal recently and answered some questions about the state of the advertising and marketing industry.
If you’re a subscriber, the full Q&A is here.
A couple of my favorite sound bytes from the interview:
- Regarding the state of advertising spending around the world: Flat in the U.S. and Western Europe is the new up.
- On the likelihood of ad spending returning to some sense of where it was before the downturn: We describe the recession as L-shaped, which implies that it will never go back to where it was before. The forecast for levels of increase in ad spending, both traditional and nontraditional, are pretty anemic for the next two or three years.
- On the fact that a quarter of WPP’s revenues now come from digital, yet clients are spending only an estimated 13% of their marketing budgets there: We know we spend up to 20% of our time online, so in theory spending should be up at 20%. It’s just natural conservatism, resistance to change and inability to adapt to change. I believe when digital budgets get to 20%, which will be in four or five years, we will be spending 30% of our time online.
Fellow digital marketers, prepare to continue with your Sisyphean task of pushing that digital marketing rock up that very big hill.
And get over it…life ain’t fair.
Look at it this way: The longer “they” take to get what’s going on, the more job security and slow, Darwin natural selection evolution type growth there’s likely to be in the digital marketing and social media milieu.
In a related video interview, Sorrels blamed this slow change on old media dinosaurs like himself being in positions of authority and being resistant to change.
Hey, at least he’s willing to call a spade a spade.
But seeing as you’re the steward (through Ogilvy and Mather) of much of IBM’s marketing spend, could you hurry it up already??