Seven Tips for Ad Agency CFOs
Seven Tips for Ad Agency CFOs
The world of advertising, especially when seen through the eyes of a CFO, has completely changed in the last decades. Clients are have begun throwing out Agency-Of-Record relationships, in favor of working on a shorter-term project basis. As a result, the principal way of doing business can be summed up as agile—a term that will doubtless be familiar to developers and project managers who have etched this flexible, on-demand paradigm right into its DNA. Forbes has hailed this moment in advertising as The Agility Era, a testament to the far-reaching effects of this new way of working. Ad agency CFOs must, therefore, be diligent and adaptive, willing to break out of the mold and move into the agile.
Here are seven tips for doing so.
- Future thinking. Never rest assured that your existing clients will be with you tomorrow. Plan for the future. And think of tomorrow as a time of unknowns. Where will the next trends come from? Businesses of today are constantly looking for the next disruption. Predicting where it will come from is the key to staying on top.
- Flexibility. The traditional way of doing business, with AOR relationships forming the bedrock of business, is now obsolete. CFOs have to compete for clients and revenue day in and day out. But they also have to be on their toes, always willing to try out new approaches.
- Be Nimble. Be quick. With the right mix of agility and preparation, a CFO can have an incredible impact on an ad agency’s bottom line. But work must be executed in a timely manner. The advertising world moves at breakneck speeds today, especially compared to the pre-digital era. Don’t sleep on the job.
- Caution to the wind. Well, not exactly. CFOs shouldn’t be reckless. But as Forbes notes, caution as a basic paradigm really belongs to the older way of doing things in advertising. So, while CFOs must remain focused and responsible, they may, in the end, have a tiny bit to learn from daredevils.
- Experiment. Take risks. What do great artists, finance giants, and today’s best ad agency CFOs have in common? They all experiment. They take risks. Never reluctant to try out new ideas, they’re in constant search of a new venture. Ad CFOs today must take one cue from financiers—it’s about investment and risk—and another from artists: try things out. Experiment.
- Know your clients. Age-old wisdom, but valuable nonetheless: every CFO should strive to cultivate good business relationships. Although everything seems open for “disruption,” some things just never change.
- Stay grounded. While the fast-paced world of advertising thrives on ignoring the speed limit, CFOs should also remain in touch with the rest of the world. Just take Virginia Hines, Periscope CFO and Bizjournals’ 2017 CFO of the year, who notes that at the start of her day she always makes it a point to simply be present with her family. It’s easy to forget that, even though CFOs deal with the financial side of advertising, the industry is based on communicating with real people.