AccountInsight_Podcast - John Harris, president & CEO at Worldwide Partners, on the future of B2B advertising

John Harris, president & CEO at Worldwide Partners, on the future of B2B advertising

This is a Masterclass on B2B, advertising and network agencies.

On our continued journey of building the discipline around Account Based Advertising , Accountinsight interviews some of the sharpest minds in our industry to get better understanding about how media , advertising and agencies are shaping the future.

John Harris is the President & CEO at Worldwide Partners, one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing communications network made up of 70 independent agencies in 40 countries  employing 4,500 people. Clients include Lufthansa, Microsoft, Pfizer, McDonald’s, Amazon,  3M and Las Vegas Tourism.

Worldwide Partners  agencies manage over $5 billion (USD) in worldwide advertising expenditures.

He has held senior roles in TBWA, The Integer Group,  Smash Burger, Location 3 and Worldwide Partners.

He believes that the best way to predict the future is to create the future.

If you want to have 20 years’ worth of experience in about just 45 minutes, this is an absolute must listen conversation.

If you are interested in:

 🔸B2B demand generation and growing brands

🔸 Learning everything on B2B and marketing from ground-up

🔸 The role of agencies and how they interplay with CMO’s objectives

🔸 The role of data scientist vs the big creative idea

This podcast is for you. Enjoy the chat!

President and CEO at Worldwide Partners, John Harris, comes to the table with a wealth of experience to share. His company has over 70 independent agencies that employ 4,500 people in over 40 countries. Clients of his include conglomerates like 3M and Amazon, as well as companies like Microsoft and McDonald’s.

One of the most interesting pieces of advice he’s shared with us is the role agencies have and the value they can provide to brands. In this podcast, he tells us about his experiences over the years and the lessons he’s learnt from them.

Compartmentalise problems

One major moment of learning for Harris was when one of his agency’s biggest clients, McDonald’s, wanted to fire them. He sat down to think about why this was and listened to the problems the client experienced. From this, he began to compartmentalise the issues and tried to solve them.

To do this, Harris brought in outside experts, removed team members who’d worked on the account for decades and talked with the client to try and establish an aligned set of approaches. These small changes kept McDonald’s with them for another three years, before the agency was ultimately fired. In hindsight, Harris believes this was due to a relationship breakdown and a lack of alignment.

How agencies interplay with the CMO’s objectives 

Aligning goals with a client is important for any agency. While working as a burger chain’s CMO, Harris discovered most companies would actually prefer to have more business leadership from agencies and less campaign leadership. He believes marketers and agencies who get in touch saying “I have an opportunity to help you drive your business and increase your penetration in the market, let me show you how,” are the ones that any CMO will sit up and listen to. Showing your agency has the expertise a company needs, as opposed to mass emailing them with offers, often is what makes the difference.

A synergy of diverse cultures and minds 

In the B2B world, Harris believes that clients are looking for expertise, while agencies need to scale. This is why he is happy to be part of a diverse network of agencies that want to collaborate and solve very specific needs for clients. In this model, collaboration and consolidation take precedence since this is what drives growth for everyone.

From personalised to personal

Harris believes that the internet inventor Vince Cerf would be disappointed in marketers today. This is mainly because marketers too often bombard consumers with endless messages at the expense of efficacy and this is seen by many as an abuse of power. At some point, he believes there will be a shift away from personalised marketing to personal marketing – where empathy and value are what agencies are demonstrating to clients. A move from CX – customer experience – to HX – the human experience. 

The touch you need to make it personal

Being an agency that succeeds relies on intimate knowledge of client needs while providing the right solutions and tools, from brand awareness to delivering scalable solutions. Get in touch to see how AccountInsight can help you.

Listen to our other Account Based Marketing Podcasts for more useful industry insights:

You may also like...