PHD Asia boss: ’Agencies are not agile enough to keep up with what clients need’

Susana Tsui on panel at Digital Matters

PHD’s Susana Tsui on panel at Digital Matters

Marketers don’t have time to digest the impact that digital is having on media and consumers anymore, they must “jump in” or risk being left behind, Susana Tsui, APAC CEO of media agency PHD said at the Digital Matters conference in Singapore today.

However, Tsui told conference delegates that clients do not lack willing in embracing digital, but their agencies are not sufficiently agile to respond to changing market conditions.

“It’s not a lack of willing among clients [to embrace digital]. I don’t think agencies are agile enough, as they need to build a business case and get approvals to build what is needed,” she said.

“We are our own worst enemies, as we need to justify ROI to the client. By the time we’ve done all the analysis, the wave has gone and there’s another trend on its way,” said Tsui, who joined PHD as regional CEO a year ago.

Tsui suggested that there was a need for cultural change in agencies to adapt to changing media trends and the demands of young staff.

“A lot of people on our team are young. They don’t want to learn a process,” she said. “If we don’t start to build our companies around what is motivating for them [young people], they will leave.”

“They will go to a start up. They don’t want to work for a big machine,” she said.

Tsui was on a panel arranged by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Singapore that included Jeff Seah, the Southeast Asia CEO of Starcom, Keith Timimi, the head of VML Qais, Kim Douglas, VP and MD of Sapient Nitro Singapore and Hong Kong, and Mike Rich, APAC head of GroupM’s content division.


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