Insights from my Leaders Listening Tour

View of New York City as the sun sets.

I am fresh off my leadership tour of NYC. I met with eight advertising leaders over the course of a month to talk about trends they are seeing and to understand how the landscape might evolve considering AI’s rise in the public’s consciousness and the ways the pandemic permanently affected business positively and negatively.

Some Trends from my Leaders Tours:

AI’s Impact: Generally speaking, AI hasn’t affected headcount or the way these leaders are seeing creative services being delivered in the near future. AI serving as a co-pilot to employees seemed to resonate as the model for the foreseeable future. The diversity of how AI is currently being used was an eye opener. The efficacy and efficiency of AI tools received mixed reviews based on the case use. For instance, using AI to start a creative brief might actually send a creative team down the wrong path and add unwelcomed complexity to a project, but using AI to identify KOL’s quickly for instance, reduces the time to project completion.

That said, there was still a general consensus AI would eventually change things, pushing the deliverable more towards strategic services and away from creative production. At least one leader predicted a massive shift and a significant downsizing of creative services agencies with some unprepared large agencies looking at an extinction event.

Covid Impacts: Compensation and officing are the two cited lasting impacts of Covid. The demand for talent during the pandemic drove up the agency compensation across the board. The long-term impacts are still being felt today.  Most leaders I spoke to still see officing flexibility as a competitive advantage vs. those requiring office time.

Cross Selling: A trend that emerged over the last few months is the need for account folks to be aware of cross-selling opportunities with their clients. The macro-trend of PE roll-ups and networks acquiring a diversity of services and digital product companies requires account folks who are capable of uncovering these larger cross selling opportunities.

Salmela has worked with Fred Petito, Executive Coach with Attain Leadership to develop a custom program to coach client service folks to be more effective at organic cross-selling by bringing an inquiry based coaching mindset to their client relationships.

A similar program at a leading financial planning firm saw advisors who integrated this approach into their client relationships generated 4X more revenue ($330K vs. $1.3M in cross sales) than of advisors who failed to adopt a coaching mindset.

Here is a link to the overview of our joint program, Client Partner Business Development Coaching Program. Let’s chat if this might make sense for your team.

2023 Compensation Guide: We are excited to launch our first compensation guide.  What makes it unique is it is based on real data; accepted offers. It is not based on surveys or self reported compensation.  This guide is based on what agencies were willing to pay for talent. We think that’s pretty cool. Download your copy here. Medical Advertising & Communications Agency Compensation Guide

Mergers & Acquisitions + Collaborations: We would be interested in meeting the Founders of independent companies providing the following services. Salmela is helping Founders understand their options around M&A and agency to agency collaboration.

  • True Omnichannel Healthcare agencies
  • Primary Data Firms
  • Creative Agencies
  • HEOR and Market Access Consulting or Advertising

Links to Resources, Interviews, and Our Thinking

Case Studies

Musings of a Headhunter


I will leave you with this question. If a PE roll-up never gets properly integrated or effectively cross-sold, was the roll-up worth it?

(My answer is a resounding YES. Even with these challenges there are still efficiencies and a strong network effect that is a value multiplier.  But imagine if it is done correctly?  Now that’s something special)

Let me know what you think. Drop me a line.

All the best,


Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash



Sign up our newsletter to get update information, news, insight or promotions.
error: Content is protected !!

Ciera is a born-and-raised Duluthian who recently graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When she isn’t designing the Salmela website or sending emails, she doubles as an actress! With over 15 years of acting experience, Ciera brings her creative artistry and understanding of people to her work at Salmela.

Madison is a marketing maven with a mastery of magnificent messaging. She brightens every room with her positive attitude and joins Salmela to explore the digital corners on every search. If you’re having a first conversation with one of us, Madison is probably the reason why!

Ryan is an Emmy-award winning news producer with a strong history in the performing arts. Funny and outgoing, he’ll meet you with a journalist’s curiosity and actor’s joie de vivre.

Meghan brings her previous advertising agency experience to Salmela. She is a natural-born conversationalist and delights in every interaction with candidates and clients alike. Meghan can find something in common or a shared interest with just about anyone. (No really, it’s AMAZING.) She is also a foodie, loves cooking, and is always looking for the next opportunity to try an adventurous recipe.

Kate joins Salmela after a decade of non-profit arts leadership, where she shared her passion for building community, education, inclusiveness, and arts access. Her superpower is helping professionals identify their strengths and set them on a course for greater success. After work, she can be found reading Shakespeare, doing yoga, or prepping the next generation of theatre stars for college.

Cory spends his day advising senior leaders on talent acquisition strategy. He is happiest on his bike, skis, or helping his daughters rehearse lines. He began his career as a National Team Coach for the U.S. Ski Biathlon Team, followed by experience in pharma sales. In 2005, he founded Salmela. Today, Salmela places leaders across the healthcare industry. Salmela is the go-to vendor across marcomm disciplines in healthcare and beyond.

Chief Financial Officer, Olympian, and Health Coach, what can’t she do? When Kara is not managing the Salmela Financials, she spends her days educating and supporting people as a health coach. If that wasn’t cool enough, she also competed as an American biathlete at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

Megan focuses on individual career wellness and team development for the healthcare advertising industry. As a natural networker, and with a career background in health/wellness and international corporate project management, Megan has the experience necessary to understand your needs. She enjoys being outside with her family, volunteering in the community, trail running and practicing yoga.

Recommend To A Friend

Click where to share