The 3 Biggest Growth Opportunities for Agencies; Balancing Creativity vs. Productivity: Tuesday’s First Things First

Plus, the latest coronavirus developments

the average workweek for a marketing pro is 40-49 hours, and many work weekends.
The average workweek for a marketing pro is 40-49 hours, and many work weekends. - Credit by Carlos Monteiro
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Why Agencies Should Be Placing Their Bets on Data, Talent and Tech

In a period of intense uncertainty, what bets and investments can agencies make to succeed in a new advertising world order? There may be no single answer, but we spoke with 26 shops and found a few common threads. Big holding companies continue to make multibillion-dollar bets on data and performance marketing. Predictably, investment in technology is becoming more common, but it’s equally important to ensure that the right talent is in place, and deep specialization may be crucial for growth.

Read more: Discover three tried-and-true methods for achieving growth and why they’re key to success.

Coronavirus Updates: The Latest Developments, Cancellations and Travel Restrictions

Stocks continued to plummet due to a one-two punch of coronavirus fears and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Holding companies were not immune to the plunge, as the big five companies stocks’ lost on average 7.5%. Analysts see holding companies losing revenue in out of home as quarantines and precautionary measures keep people at home and experiential activations are canceled. TV, streaming and digital could see an uptick, but the market as a whole will likely be negative and volatile.

The National Retail Federation now expects the coronavirus outbreak will have a “longer and larger impact” than previously estimated on incoming goods at 11 major U.S. ports, as factory shutdowns and travel restrictions in China continue.

Originally set to take place in New York the week of May 11-15, the One Club’s Creative Week is usually among one of the biggest events in the agency world. Now, organizers are hoping they’ll be able to garner a bigger online turnout with their COVID-19-friendly Creative Week digital alternative.

A+E Networks and AMC Networks are the latest media companies to follow Fox News Media and Comcast’s FreeWheel’s footsteps in scrapping upfront plans due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus. A+E Networks will shift its live upfront event, which had been scheduled for March 25 at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, for a virtual upfront presentation series beginning the week of March 23. AMC Networks will still hold conversations with clients instead of its first upfront since 2017.

COVID-19 Tracker: Keep up with the latest coronavirus news here.

How Enforcing a Gender-Balanced Workplace Will Propel Brands Forward

Micky Onvural, CEO of menswear brand Bonobos—whose entire executive team is dominated by women—penned a op-ed arguing that success requires you to walk in other people’s shoes, including those of different gender identities (not to mention other forms of diversity). “The juxtaposition of different perspectives unlocks creativity, innovation and growth,” Onvural writes.

Read more: How can we foster the power that comes from men and women working together?

Infographic: A Day in the Life of a Modern Marketer

A recent survey of 400 full-time advertising and marketing managers compared creativity and productivity in the average workday. “To be productive and creative, we need to allow ourselves time to decompress,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director, The Creative Group. She advises marketing pros to set boundaries to have a healthy work-life balance, avoid multitasking and be mindful of energy vampires like email or social media that decrease productivity.

Explore the Data: How is does your balance of productivity vs. creativity compare?

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News & Highlights

Ad of the Day: The Kool-Aid Man Has Gone Missing

A mere month after Mr. Peanut died, then rose again as Baby Nut, another potential disaster has struck the mascots of Kraft Heinz: The Kool-Aid Man has vanished. Kraft Heinz is encouraging concerned citizens to help locate the Kool-Aid Man, who’s ostensibly out traveling the world in search of that secret ingredient.

silhouette of Kool-Aid Man

Agencies Discuss What Managers Can Do to Help Sick Employees During the Coronavirus Outbreak (and Throughout the Year)

“Managers ensure that our teams have efficiencies built-in, so that when an employee gets sick, they have the ability to see the doctor and take time off without the rest of the team skipping a beat. We strive to be flexible, allowing employees to work from home when they feel something ‘coming on,’ which can prevent something like the cold or flu from spreading around the office in the first place.”

—Simon Hill, president, FutureBrand North America

“The most important thing a manager can do is to listen to staff. If someone experiences flu-like symptoms, we recommend our employees either take a sick day or work from home. There’s a lot of understanding in the teams if someone wants to work from home, which is something we’ve worked to instill in our culture.

We’ve also used cloud services for a long time, and have all meetings on Google Meet as an addition to in-person meetings. That way, it’s easy to work from home and still reach all the material you need and participate in meetings.”

—Anders Wahlquist, co-founder and CEO, B-Reel

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@JessZafarris Jess Zafarris (née Jessica Farris) is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.
Publish date: March 10, 2020 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT