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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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 12:46

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 14:05

[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 07:14

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 05:25

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 09:18

[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 07:16

[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 12:41

Selecting digital online agencies

Digital or online agencies are different to lead agencies, as they operate in the online space by creating and implementing digital marketing campaigns that get onto online networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Whatever digital dilemma a client may have, digital agencies have the ability to provide a holistic solution.

By Johanna McDowell 8 May 2012 13:08

Two message

PR practitioners frequently counsel clients to 'stay on message' despite tactical distractions and fast-changing market conditions. It's good advice - so good, we should take it ourselves.

By Johanna McDowell 16 Mar 2012 13:12

Focus on competitive differences rather than pitch order

Traditionally, advertising agencies have always wanted to be either first or last in a competitive pitch situation fearing that they may be forgotten otherwise by the client, but, in our view, position in the pitch order does not matter. As long as the various pitches take place over a maximum of two days, there is no danger of client becoming confused about the various attributes of the presenting agencies.

By Johanna McDowell 21 Nov 2011 14:50

[2011 trends] Local, intl trends for advertising, marketing

Here are 11 trends that apply to advertising and marketing, as well as the small, intermediary sector of agency review and pitching that is a part of those industries. A number of these trends come from both local and international intelligence, as well as trends observed together with the AAR Group UK (Independent Agency Search and Selection (IAS)'s international partner), and input from the October 2010 Ad Forum in New York City.

By Johanna McDowell 12 Jan 2011 15:16

Twenty tips to a polished pitch process

When pitching for new business, in essence most agencies offer similar services. However, a polished pitch that sell your services indicating how you will meet your client's needs, stands a far better chance of creating a lasting impression on the client. The following 20 tips on handling the new business pitch may help your agency to stand out from the rest of the contenders and ensure your pitch wins the business.

By Johanna McDowell 4 Dec 2009 11:06

AdForum: trends that will revolutionise ad industry

Attending this year's AdForum Worldwide Summit was one of the highlights of the year. Besides being in New York, which is an exciting city, during the recent five-day summit I noted some interesting and exciting trends that will change the advertising industry in the near future.

By Johanna McDowell 1 Dec 2009 11:03

‘Clients are from Mars, agencies from Venus'

As with any new or existing relationship, defining your boundaries and maintaining open healthy dialogue are keys to a long lasting client-agency relationship. However, in reality, cracks in the relationship start to appear because very often clients and agencies are not on the same wavelength and don't fully understand the dynamics and the day-to-day running of their respective business.

By Johanna McDowell 1 Jun 2009 11:59

Polished pitch processes win new business

Agencies that sell their service through a polished and creative presentation, indicating exactly how they will meet their client's needs, stand a far better chance of creating a lasting impression with the client. This is what makes an advertising agency pitching for new business stand out from the rest of the contenders. In essence, agencies offer similar services and you differentiate yourself from others by taking the “polished and connected” principle into account from the start.

By Johanna McDowell 3 Nov 2008 09:16

Rise of digital agencies

The digital era is exploding with potential and it cannot be ignored by any advertising agency or client who wants to flourish in the future. In order to build brand space in this new age, agencies need to understand the market behaviour, know what kind of messages are best suited for the digital media and know how to use the digital age to their advantage. It is about predicting the new online marketing trends and ensuring that clients are leveraging them correctly.

By Johanna McDowell 23 May 2008 09:01

Need to choose an agency with discretion and in confidence?

The Independent Agency Search and Selection company (IAS) has been founded in South Africa in response to the realisation that choosing a new advertising, media, digital or design agency is an important corporate and personal business decision.

By Johanna McDowell 18 Mar 2008 08:46

Conflict of interest... it's a tender subject

Conflicts of interest involving shareholders, directors and senior executives are becoming a ticklish, and 'tender' subject for business. The trend was illustrated by a recent tender document completed by Matigari-Integrated.bmc, which requested details of all interests and potential conflicts involving our company, directors and executives.

By Johanna McDowell 7 Mar 2005 13:52

Journalism on supplements … how healthy is it?

Ad revenues appear to be up. Newspapers are getting fatter. Even our over-traded magazine sector appears relatively vibrant. Journalists and publishers will therefore be surprised to hear that some of us in the PR business are starting to worry about them. Why?

By Johanna McDowell 22 Apr 2004 13:02

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