Speaking to Campaign before delivering a keynote at National Achievers Congress 2018 in Singapore, Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder & CEO of VaynerMedia (VM), said that an acquisition offer from Martin Sorrell would not interest him.
"If I got a cold email from Martin Sorrell I'd say 'super flattered, we're just not in that place right now' - that would be my answer," said Vaynerchuk. "Because I'm building it for myself."
One part of his business building plan may be proceeding a bit more slowly though. VM's planned APAC launch will be delayed to Q1 2019, to ensure long-term stability, he told Campaign.
"At this point, we've got some verbal commitments on some clients," said Vaynerchuk. "We have global clients that are excited about having a conversation with us about expanding with us in  and obviously they have their agencies that they are already doing business with here and so those are bound to be worked through."
The market knows best
While the expansion of VaynerMedia in Europe relied on established VM senior executives charged with go-to-market (GTM) strategy and growth, Vaynerchuk said that the approach for the APAC launch will primarily rely on local talent with an established presence and credibility.
The second part of the approach will focus on pitching the agency as the global leader in context.
"I think that a lot of clients recognize, just saying 'we do 54% digital' could mean nothing good," said Vaynerchuk, alluding to the prevalence of instances where digital creative is not contextually relevant to the intended target segments.
"I would argue that the far majority of large companies across the world globally are still struggling," he said, placing the blame on the lack of quality content in high volumes, the absence of contextual creative, and the dearth of planning & execution against the two.
"They've taken traditional television dynamics and they've put them into digital and that's why things like programmatic have done so well," he said. "I think we have a religion of creative [at VM] that respects the audience, the clients KPIs, and the context of the platform we're creating the content [for] that most agencies don't and I think that's where people become confused with us."
APAC clients understand, appreciate, and demand programmatic? No thanks
Despite the growth of programmatic in the region and the level of sophistication on all sides, VM does not plan to build its own adtech nor serve clients on programmatic, adding that the agencies doing so use the tactic as a means to justify high fees.
"It looks good on paper, but their [agencies] execution is laughable from somebody that comes from a Silicon Valley DNA," he said. "Most of the execution on programmatic is low-cost CPMs in places where nobody ever sees the creative, with creative that isn't contextual to where it's being delivered - often times for a desktop world in what is now a mobile environment."
He views the lack of effectiveness in programmatic has been the outcome of industry bodies and groups that create self-servicing metrics, benchmarks, and standards.
"Do I think that most of the people reading this article - if their children's health depended on it - and they have a business, would they buy programmatic banner ads and pre-rolls to sell stuff - that their children had to eat off of?" he said rhetorically. "No, I do not believe they would do that."