by Bethany Harris, EVP, Strategic Partnership Group


Working at an ad agency isn’t for the faint of heart these days. Clients frantic to navigate the economic shutdown are looking for immediate answers to pivot their creative messages, and reassess their entire media plan, from incorporating different media channels to moving flighting, all while maximizing budgets. Strategic evolutions that would typically be given 4-6 months to complete, leaving time for research and conjecture, now need to happen almost overnight.
All the while, many agencies tell us clients have asked them to make a series of concessions to partner with them through the pandemic, including cutting or decreasing fees, extending payment terms and adding services to help them make it through. Active is stepping in to help meet these challenges.

Active’s role as a strategic partner to ad agencies was largely born out of the 2008-2009 recession. Agencies were facing similar struggles, and some who we worked closely with, understood our model and started reaching out to Active to serve as an extension of their services, and in some cases, provide an incremental revenue stream. Active’s media team includes over 200 media professionals placing over $1.5B annually across media types, for no fee to our agency partners. By tapping into our trading model, where we leverage our future media positions, we can help agencies provide their clients with media buys that are often at pricing that cannot be accomplished through traditional means.

Additionally, during times of financial struggle, the corporate trade model, which is Active’s DNA, becomes a tool many clients turn to. Unsold inventories stack up, and they need a more lucrative way to liquidate them.  During this COVID-19 crisis, Active’s inventory sales team is seeing an enormous amount of unsold products in the marketplace looking to be liquidated. In this market, a client would be fortunate to get 15-20 cents on the dollar for it, which amounts to crippling losses. But Active’s model delivers full book value and assures brand sensitivity and seamless disposition.

If any of your clients have these issues, your agency could help them solve them by bringing in Active as your corporate trade arm. We would pay the client full price for their assets, and they would place media through you as they always have, at your agency’s benchmark pricing and buying specifications. Active’s media team would simply execute the buy. Your agency remains in full control, while Active becomes your buying arm under your direction. It’s a way to earn a a whole new seat at the table with your client: A financial solution provider.

Know that, should any of your clients have unsold inventories, it’s very likely that other corporate trade companies are calling them. Most of those corporate trade companies are affiliated with a holding company media agency that is not independent, like Active is. Active would be partner with your agency, you would remain in full control. We won’t be looking to poach your client.

If you hold responsibility to manage resources at your agency, to scale your agency, or to maintain and increase revenue, Active may be able to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to learn more. It’s a little bit of research that may go a long way for your agency (and your clients).

The agency model has been evolving over the past few years, the pandemic has provoked marked and immediate transformation. Please let us show you how Active can help you evolve your model and stay ahead of the curve and keep your competitive edge.