Ivan Guzenko, CEO, SmartyAds
As agencies have faced recent financial hardships due to the current climate, how do you think they can make hiring new talent a priority?
The pandemic has given us an important lesson — one should constantly review and shift their business strategies and tactics in order to adapt to the ever-changing market realms. The same thing applies to hiring processes in agencies. Lockdown currently stirs an increased media consumption across advertising channels. Knowing this, agencies should make talent-hiring their priority. To overcome financial hardships while hiring new talent agencies should come up with new ways of remote communication and screening. In the same way, they should correctly evaluate the cases when they really need an in-house team, and when attracting outsourced talent will be a more cost-effective option.
How should agencies address the issue of lack of Black employees in mid- to senior to C-Suite roles?
Even though the subject of discrimination and race equality is currently raised on every media, unfortunately, organizations still experience hardships when they need to recognize the issue in their own environment. Especially the problem is obvious in mid- to senior to C-Suite roles where the hiring processes can be much less regulated and transparent. As I see it, transformation should begin at the point of acknowledgment and problem realization at the company level. The hiring should be clear and structured where all candidates deal with the same set of questions. The answers in turn should be evaluated according to the clear scale universally applied for this or that role.
How do you think the new class of talent can reshape the agency landscape?
Agencies are, first of all, keen on assisting brands as advisors — in terms of crafting creative messaging and choosing effective distribution advertising channels alike. When ad tech came to the scene and enabled advertising campaign automation, many brands decided to take programmatic to their own hands. With broad adoption of programmatic platforms, media-buying turned increasingly cost-effective. The fact that consumer habits largely shifted towards online purchasing and content consumption has also intensified the need for profound technological skills and knowledge at advertising agencies. Thus, the new talent with both tech and creative background should strengthen the agency landscape through diverse talent acquisition.
What advice do you have for the next class of talent entering the workforce?
Very soon there will be no such thing as an advertising professional without a technical background. Technology spans all advertising processes – starting from creative designing and ending with campaign launching on platforms powered by algorithmic purchasing. If you know what this or that technology is capable of and how to fine-tune its functions to achieve better outcomes, it expands your possibilities. If you are a person who understands both marketing and software, this means you are one of those new-generation talents that the ad tech industry currently needs so much.
What does the conversation around talent look like one year from now?
Technology will never cease to develop and the application of AI coupled with ML and neural networks poses a new challenge in terms of attracting professionals in this area. Self-learning technologies already know how to successfully execute advertising strategies, communicate with the client across channels, and make dynamic creatives work. But in order to create those complex strategies and craft abstract creative concepts, you still need a lot of human talent, which makes a second big challenge. Thus, in one year from now, all talks will be devoted to how important it is to attract talents with tech and creative backgrounds alike.