On to Something Big

By Anne McCarthy

When I started Westmeath in 2010, I had a thought: What about aggregating the very best marketing and communications talent and creating an agency under a virtual roof? Experts in the field would continue to run their own businesses and we could come together for consulting opportunities that were a good match. We would be tethered together by a shared purpose, a set values and work collaboratively with a set of principles on key engagements.

We coined the phrase “Netsortium”—a global NETwork PLUS a conSORTIUM of professionals. I believe it’s “an idea whose time has come.”

There are three main reasons why I am convinced the time for Westmeath and the Netsortium is right now:

#1. ENTERPRISE LEADERS ARE FRUSTRATED

The marketing and communications profession is experiencing unprecedented disruption. The rules of the road have changed, and decision makers are frustrated with their lack of choices. Strategic business communications is no longer a “NICE to have,” it’s a “MUST have.”

Business communications is serious business. The days of ad hoc events, random publicity stunts and campaigns that showcase creativity for creativity’s sake are over.

–      The talent pool is limited, and critical thinking skills are scarce.

–      Time is at a premium — CMOs, CCOs and CEOs need to rely on consultancies that get it right the first time!

–      Budgets are constrained and there is increasing pressure to do more with less.

#2. THE BIG AGENCY MODEL IS BROKEN

The old bricks and mortar model is dying. It’s too expensive, it’s bureaucratic, and it’s unsustainable. Many agencies have gone public and they are fixated with delivering quarterly earnings and pleasing Wall Street. As a result, they’ve lost their client focus.

–      Senior talent — billing out at $500 or more per hour—is simply too expensive to work on client business.

–      “Junior Woodchucks” are assigned to accounts because they have capacity not because they have the right skill set. They are learning on the job and learning on the client’s nickel.

–      Agencies assign account people according to who is sitting on the bench and who has capacity, rather than selecting the professional with the appropriate skill set or expertise.

Clients are shifting to smaller, more nimble boutique consulting firms because EXPERIENCE MATTERS.

#3. THERE IS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE

Over the past 5 years, our profession has changed profoundly. The traditional lines of demarcation between marketing and communications have blurred. Writing good content or doing stellar research is no longer the name of the game. Curating content, connecting the dots, providing insights, understanding technology platforms, appreciating the competitive landscape, knowing the culture and making holistic messaging recommendations is what it’s all about.

Simply put, business is demanding a more sophisticated solution from marketers and communicators. The “Knowledge Economy” demands we think differently and act differently.

In my opinion, the solution is tapping into a network of career business communicators. That’s why we offer the Netsortium:

–      We are a team of experts — not a collection of freelancers.

–      Each advisor has at least one area of specialization, and deep brand experience.

–      We’ve hand-picked experts who understand measurement, analytics and insights.

–      We’ve built alliances with boutique agencies, such as Banner Public Affairs

and The Go Lab to provide a total solution.

–      The thread that binds this team together is this: we are all focused on solving business problems in a collaborative, real time way based on big brand expertise.

–      Our team is bound together by a set of collaboration principles and values that transcend borders, time zones and cultures.

–      Our team shares resources and processes to make us more efficient.

–      Our team offers branded business communications services, steeped in proven methodologies, which can be adapted to different circumstances.

–      Our team is maniacally focused on delivering business results and providing candid advice and counsel to the client — without the distractions of Wall Street or agency politics.

Today’s price of admission is a deep understanding of how businesses operate and how to effectively communicate a message in this cluttered, saturated global marketplace.

That’s why I believe Westmeath and our Netsortium are on to something big. You can call us free agents. You can call us the gig economy. Just call us! We are confident that we are the better alternative!