When people in Washington mention "The Agency," they’re usually referring to the C.I.A.
Not this week at Summit, when "The Agency" will be CTAM’s Agency Council, the group of agency execs who provide marketing services to operators and programmers that’s been almost as secretive as the C.I.A., but not intentionally. "Like the shoemaker’s kids who don’t have shoes, we’re people who serve others with marketing services but who haven’t marketed ourselves very well," jokes Joe Schramm, president of Schramm Sports & Entertainment Inc., and co-chair of The Agency Council’s steering committee. In fact, 18 agency personnel will be featured during Summit’s roundtables and panels, the largest agency presence ever at CTAM. Not all 18 are Agency Council members, though. "We want that to change," says Schramm, who adds that the 60-member Agency Council will be attempting to raise its profile this week, something the C.I.A. shuns.
The recent formation of a subcommittee for communications should help. "We want every [chief marketing officer] in cable to know who we are." That could be useful, considering Agency Council members help CTAM plan Summit. The 4-year-old Council also recruits agency personnel to judge CTAM’s Mark Awards and provides speakers for local CTAM events. Agency execs bring a fresh perspective to CTAM, Schramm argues. "When you work for a company, you tend to think in a particular way. Agencies are paid to look at things 15 different ways," he says.