In 2014, I resolve to....

So the year is coming to an end end and we all have pretty much thought about our 2014 resolutions.

We asked several agency heads what their wish is going forward. Here are the top few which were echoed across the industry: (P.S- Don't miss some hilarious ones at the bottom of the story.)

1. Less churn in the industry 

In a study done by specialist marketing recruitment consultancy EMR, 90% of marketing professionals across Asia said they were looking for a new job. The study also found that job satisfaction and security are no longer enough to retain staff. Also 30% of those surveyed have been in their current role for less than a year. Candidates highlighted that they are not leaving their positions out of necessity but rather, the majority are leaving out of choice, for career development and more challenging and interesting work.

2. Work life balance

“T I’m inclined to make everyone from Goodstuph leave the office by 7pm starting from 2014. Good time management leads to better productivity and at times, better creativity (especially if you’re not caught rushing to meet a deadline). Plus,  work doesn’t end ever, especially in the business of social media,”- Pat Law, Managing director, GoodStuph

"Bosses should ensure work life balance for their staff in the advertising and marketing industry. Bosses must know when to intervene. No project is worth the life of anyone, " Ryan Lim, Blugrapes.

This is with reference to the recent incident where another agency employee in Y&R Indonesia worked herself to death following a 30 hour long shift. Earlier this year a 24-year-old Ogilvy & Mather Beijing employee suffered a sudden heart attack on 14 May. Reports online suggested overwork was a factor, but the agency was unable to expand on these details.

“Most importantly, we agency people should take ourselves a bit less seriously, the world does not rotate around us," Christian Oversohl, SVP, managing director, SapientNitro Asia Pacific said.
3. Learning to say No

This year in our series on the pitching , industry experts and agency heads both echoed the sentiments that pitching from every and all accounts need to be stopped. This only leads to an exhausted team and strained relationships. Agencies need to learn to say no and take on work which they feel passionately about for better productivity.

Read: Agencies, stop pitching for every account

Pitch fees? Why not, say clients

Why pitch fees are unlikely in SG

4. Procurement to better balance costs savings with marketing

At our last event for the year, titled The Futurist, speakers said the dysfunction lies not in between clients and agencies but between clients and their procurement teams. In 2014 many brands will be looking to fix that. “I don’t think they are evil people in procurement, I think they are trying to do their job. But they are not in a position to make those judgments because generally, even if they are used to purchasing professional services, they are not buying an outcome-based solution, they are buying an output-based solution,” said a speaker.

5. More digitally ambitious

“We hope Singapore brands to show more ambition in digital,” said a senior agency lead from a media agency on the condition of anonymity. The EDB has just this in mind. Earlier Marketing reported on the Economic Development Board (EDB) commissioning an industry wide quantitative study of the marketing and communications industry, a first for the government agency. The study is part of a bigger initiative by the government to raise the country’s standards as a digital marketing hub.

As the government sees more MNCs and Asian companies bringing into Singapore regional marketing and communications roles, it is expecting a stronger demand for regional services from communication agencies as well. EDB is already on a roll making several investments into data driven units in several agencies.

(Read also: EDB’s next push to raise Singapore’s competitive profile)

But not all were so serious. Here are some of the cheeky responses we got:

  • Develop a Viral Presentation
  • Include an Easter egg in proposals and give a discount if clients spot it
  • Tell every client that responsive websites are normal
  • Develop a meaningful pro-bono campaign
  • Do less liver related exercises with our clients
  • Convince myself that clients are not evil
  • Feel less emotionally attached to projects that client don't feel emotionally attached to
  • Less meeting, more doing
  • Have my computer crash less often
  • Constantly have a clean desktop
  • Make excel my bitch
  • Wifi to stay up
  • Server to stay up
  • Websites to stay up
  • Emails and attachments to stay where they need to be
  • Domains and SSL to renew themselves
  • People to remember their passwords
  • Microsoft to develop a super virus to remove all previous versions of Internet Explorer