Six Questions for GSK's Scott Grenz.

An agency veteran and now VP, Global Media Head for the pharma and consumer healthcare divisions of GSK, Scott Grenz will be our featured guest at the Seller Forum on Thursday February 9th in New York. Here, he answers six questions about the new world order for clients, agencies and the sales community.

DW: The nature of the brand/agency relationship has been evolving for years. This past year seemed different though. Was it?

SG: Yes, I think the advertiser/media agency relationship is evolving. At GSK, we push our media agencies to deliver more for us and bring us new approaches and strategies and in the US we partner strongly with PHD. We also expect them to push us. How do we, GSK, need to behave so we get the very best from our agencies and by extension the media sellers? We strive to be client of choice with our agencies and advertiser of choice with the media sellers.

DW: What's different about a meeting you'll personally take with a media company versus one you'll hand off internally or to one of your agencies?

SG: GSK is a progressive place for Media. We partner strongly with our media agencies and expect the media selling community to be part of the equation developing custom solutions for our brands. Our intention is to remain open to innovative, bespoke programs. You can be assured GSK will invest all the time we need to bring a good idea to life. The blueprint for this is the work we did with Weather on the Flonase launch.

If you're a qualified digital sales leader or manager and would like to be supported in your own growth or that of your team, come to the Seller Forum on Thursday February 9th in New York. Seller Forum is the industry's only peer-to-peer gathering of people just like you. You'll hear from clients and market experts, get insights on the shape of Q1 spending and share best practices and tips. Request a spot for yourself and another key manager on your team. Seating will be strictly limited.

DW: You believe that media companies and publishers should be prepared to assume some of the risk on new ideas. Have you developed a good model or formula for sharing risk?

SG: Investing media dollars has inherent risk, which the advertiser takes on the brunt of, especially if sales don't improve as a result. That said, I would advise any media seller to come to us with new ideas on how we can share the risk. Maybe it's a cost model based on business impact, piloting new opportunities at no cost...I'm sure there are others. It's more being open to the approach in general as we feel it will deliver more scalable and lasting partnerships.

DW: Sellers want to call on clients, and within client companies they want to get close to brand teams. Good idea or bad idea?

SG: My counsel in this regard is patience. At some point in the process, if the media company brings something unique and integrated, the brand teams will need to get involved. If the sellers are strategic, understand our business, act as partners, they will become part of the team.

DW: What's the single most overhyped idea in media today? And what are we not talking about nearly enough?

SG: "Digital" as a unique element of the communications plan - as in, we need to "do more digitally." If we are really astute about consumer journey and hold true to that in how we invest our media spend, we should find ourselves spending in all the correct channels. Something we are talking about but are just starting to do well is tying investment back to ROI. We have made great progress working with our media agency partners, but the media sellers need to step up and help us in this regard. It's another opportunity to differentiate yourselves. Also important is top talent. We expect the media agencies to maintain the best talent on our business. The same can be said for media sellers. I think there's an opportunity there for sellers to differentiate...we really don't talk too much about talent on the sales side and we should.

DW: Our business is insular. What do you do, read or experience outside our world that keeps you grounded?

SG: I try to focus on experiences that allow me to be creative in different ways. I like to cook. That really is a stress-release for me and I don't get many complaints on the results. I also enjoy reading biographies. I like to understand what experiences and environments equip people to accomplish what they do in life, both the good guys and bad guys.