“We will, of course, strive to do better, but we feel these are appropriate goals as we head into the always important fourth quarter,” Roth said.
Media continues to be one of IPG’s highest-performing sectors. Although IPG didn’t break out numbers for Mediabrands or UM, Roth said they showed “notably strong performance,” with UM wining the Spotify account in the US.
“All of the confusion in the marketplace needs an independent view of where clients should spend their money,” he said. “Media is where all the action is happening right now.”
Still, media continues to experience pricing pressure, Roth said, but stressed that it has nothing to do with rebates or nontransparent activities.
“We run a pure agency media model, with no owned media inventory,” he said. “Some of our peers resell owned media at a profit.”
Roth briefly addressed cost-cutting by CPG and food and beverage clients, whose “significant reductions in client spend” were a cause for short-term pressure. But he also noted that the tech and telecom sectors were weaker because IPG is cycling through client losses.
Roth again addressed consulting firms as a partnership opportunity rather than a threat. While consulting firms are often in pitches relating to CRM and digital transformation, IPG doesn’t encounter them in most pitches, he said.
“I’ve always said I think it’s better for those firms to partner with us than compete with us,” he said. “I’m still waiting for my phone call.”
But even if consulting firms do continue to grow their share of marketing services rather than partner with holding companies, Roth is confident in the company’s ability to compete, especially on creative.
“The firepower we have on the creative side of the business and how it’s embedded in what we do is going to be very difficult to unseat by these particular companies,” he said.