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What will the agency of the future look like?

New York, August 18th, 2018

Brian Byer - Blue fountain Media - TIA

Brian Byer, VP of Content and Commerce Practice Lead has been working at New York-based digital agency Blue Fountain Media (BFM), for over five years now and has seen the company grow exponentially.

With 20 years experience of operations, technology, marketing, management and business analysis expertise, Brian can create forward-thinking strategies for BFM and its clients. At his current role he oversees all production and business development efforts surrounding agencies content, commerce, production and business development effort.

We interviewed Brian to find out more about his trajectory at BFM and asked him about his views on the agency of the future.

In this past five years at BFM, what was the most exciting thing that’s happened?

One of the most exciting times was when BFM was acquired by Pactera in 2016. The following year Pactera was bought by a fortune 500 Chinese conglomerate called HNA. This change has been instrumental in allowing the company to grow in ways that could not have imagined when I started working here five years ago.

How many people work at BFM today and where are they based?

BFM has currently 300 employees. We are primarily in the US: in New York. Seattle and Chicago. We also have some people in Portugal and Ukraine.

Our parent company Pactera has about 29,000 employees, which gives us a depth and breadth of a much bigger company and the possibility to use their infrastructure for our clients.

How does the digital creative industry compare with other industries that you have worked in?

One of the most exciting things in the agency environment – and NY, in particular, is how competitive this industry is from the human resources point of view.

Young professionals can finish their studies and start with a job and then six months later they might be offered a new position with a much larger salary. People can grow their careers, and wages, by just jumping from one job to the next.

It is a challenge for our industry to keep people engaged and properly incentivised to keep an employee for a longer time.

How do you go about sorting out this issue?

We provide people with a working environment where they can see a clear career path. They will get opportunities for career growth as well as learning how to work with new platforms and technology, as well as working with interesting clients.

What will the agency of the future look like?

A lot of what’s happened today in the creative agencies world is technologically oriented. However, what’s important is that we work with our clients and show them how to remain human-centric. How to use technologies that their clients are going to love using.

Will the agency of the future have a physical base?

The workplace, in general, has become more dispersed. But in my mind there is no substitution for getting people together in a room, brainstorming and coming up with ideas.

While working from home and remotely is convenient and certainly can make life easier for employees, I don’t envision a point in time where we will be able to be as effective if we all work remotely.

There are today companies that don’t have an office, but I don’t think this is the most effective way and especially not the way the top agencies are going to move forward.

In a world loaded with information and offers, what can marketing do to attract more clients?

Companies need to plan a customer journey and see where the clients will be interacting with the advertising material – whether it is on social media, on a display or on a website.

Every single channel needs to be optimised to serve appropriate content and the next best content piece based on all of the previous actions that add to that engagement in the right time and space.

What advise would you give to someone coming out of university into the creative industry?

Go back to studying! It’s a lot more fun.
On a more serious note, keep learning and understanding the way that technology works today and use all of those tools to maximise the efficacy of their career path.

What publications or people inspire you professionally?

Ad Age, Ad Week, CMS wire, there are lots of publications and blogs to read.

If I have to name a person I would say John Macgraw. He kept competing at an advanced age even though he didn’t have to. He persevered, went out and played against guys half his age.

What’s your favourite technology brand?

I like using all types of technology. I choose the technology according to their functionality; I am agnostic when it comes to brands. At home I use Amazon Alexa, I have a Google home, I have Apple TV an Amazon Firestick, I have a Chromecast, and I use them all!

What do you like doing in your free time?

I enjoy playing tennis and travelling.

Thanks Brian!

By Geny Caloisi.

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