Johanna McDowell

CEO of IAS & Mazole Holdings
Location:South Africa


Johanna McDowell counsels clients and agencies around expectations in the advertising, marketing process. She is CEO of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), a division of black-owned marketing services group Mazole Holdings. Contact Johanna on tel +27 (0)10 594 0281, email her at and follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.
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Perfect pitch: Getting the brief right first

If your pitch brief does not adequately explain the "job to be done", it's time and money wasted. To get a functional brief in writing, you need to create a document that communicates enough for an agency to put their heart into getting the job...

By Johanna McDowell 7 hours ago

Optimising the marketing vendor database

At a time when both resultant cost and resource savings are scarce, the database review can be a key factor in competitive advantage...

By Johanna McDowell 30 Oct 2018

Collaboration and changing role of lead agencies

A seven-member panel of leading marketers met with more than 30 agencies last month at an IAS Masterclass to discuss the thorny and often misjudged, issue of collaboration among agencies for the purpose of achieving business objectives for marketers...

By Johanna McDowell 3 Aug 2018

Marketers to take digital in-house at unprecedented rate

Johanna McDowell writes that in 2018 more and more marketers will handle more and more digital marketing in-house...

By Johanna McDowell 22 Feb 2018

Partnering with a black-owned agency could change your mind about BEE

25 years ago, there were very few - if any - black owned and run agencies. Probably the only one at that time was Herdbuoys. They represented the start of a new era in South Africa where black advertising professionals were taken far more seriously than in previous times...

By Johanna McDowell 27 Sep 2017

Influence of procurement departments on marketers

Agencies working - or hoping to work - on major corporate accounts in the advertising, marketing and communications industry can no longer ignore or misunderstand procurement departments and their importance in winning both government and corporate clients...

By Johanna McDowell 13 Sep 2017

Scopen 2017 planning, ready to meet top marketing execs

With the first edition of Agency Scope South Africa completed in 2016, Spanish-based independent research company Scopen and the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) are well on the way to getting the research required to produce the 2017 edition...

By Johanna McDowell 12 May 2017

AdForum Worldwide Summit 2017 insights

The Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) represented SA for the ninth consecutive year at the global AdForum Worldwide Summit and it's CEO shared some insights...

By Johanna McDowell 5 May 2017

Marketers will be required to implement stringent measures to effectively manage media costs

A major cause for concern is brewing in the South African media, advertising and communication industry. A trend that was recently blown wide open in the United States by the American Association of Advertisers (ANA) is also taking place on our shores on a seemingly widespread scale...

By Johanna McDowell 8 Feb 2017

Warm up to cold calling and yield better results for your agency

In some quarters, cold calling is regarded as the life blood of some of the businesses operating in the marketing, advertising, communication industry's B2B environment...

By Johanna McDowell 19 Oct 2016

What marketers look for in an agency during a pitch process

For any business worth its salt, it is hard to be influential unless that business makes a positive, lasting impression among potential clients who are looking at buying into their products or services...

By Johanna McDowell 13 Jul 2016

Beware of over focusing on metrics, as mediation is the key

The month of love (Valentines) is upon us, and coincidentally it correlates with a period of the year where top brands and their partner agencies take a view on how effective their relationships are...

By Johanna McDowell 16 Feb 2016

[BizTrends 2016] 'The great agency 're-bundling'

Stronger collaboration among agencies on behalf of the client brand is on the cards...

By Johanna McDowell 26 Jan 2016

The changing face of the pitch process

The new business pitch is the way agencies win most of their business, and it is the job of a selection company to help reduce long lead times, long pitch lists, layers of consensus needed to select a partner...

By Johanna McDowell 19 May 2015

IPRA Global Congress: We promise to inspire

The IPRA Global Congress only takes place every three years. This is the second time it will be hosted in South Africa...

By Johanna McDowell 21 Apr 2015

[Trends 2015] Winning the marketing race

While the fundamentals will always remain the same, 2015 will also bring 'silo-busting', 'agility marketing', and advertising decoupling and recoupling...

By Johanna McDowell 5 Feb 2015

Poorly drafted contracts break the bonds of client agency relationships

Service Level Agreements between agencies and clients need to be tight... and they are complex and cannot be completed overnight.

By Johanna McDowell 27 Aug 2014

Vibrant fresh content essential in digital world

Of the 90 agencies researched by our company, only 30% placed any significant importance on content for their digital and social media platforms.

By Johanna McDowell 1 Jun 2014

[2014 trends] What to look out for in the marketing and advertising space

We have noticed a number of new aspects emerging in our own country which might be of interest to our Nordic colleagues. So here are some trends to look out for in 2014 - and beyond.

By Johanna McDowell 7 Nov 2013

[2013 trends] Opportunities for growth within marketing and advertising arena

There are a few trends to be aware of in 2013 which will help create opportunities within the advertising and marketing arena in South Africa. A number of these come from local and international intelligence.

By Johanna McDowell 29 Jan 2013

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