In 2001, Promodem Media (now My Brother Darryl) moved our service platform from developing and implementing toll-free watch ‘n win contests to online contests. In doing so, we had some inclination of the impact technology was about to have on consumer behaviour and consumer marketing.

In those early days of web-based promotions, both agencies and clients were apprehensive of technology and didn’t understand the Internet. We spent countless hours presenting emerging web trends, building and implementing websites, contests, email deployment only to encounter territorial push back from client IT departments and entrenched agencies who were underway expanding their own digital departments.

Today, digital is a primary channel to connect with consumers and is continuing to grow and evolve at a rapid rate. The impact of this is significant on both sides of the desk. Consumers now see loyalty in a whole new light and have a whole new set of expectations. For Agencies, saying you have the best creatives or the best strategists rings hollow. The new generation of Clients have grown up with the web and have as much knowledge, talent, and insight as their agencies.

What you offer today is not what brands are in need of.

Forrester Consulting recently published a report titled, The Future Of Agencies, that was commissioned by Adobe. This is a two-part report. One focuses on customer experience and the second is focused on data-driven marketing. It’s no surprise that these reports both bring to light the need for marketing agencies to build better strategic alliances with technology partners and make customer experience mapping and engagement, data-driven marketing and marketing technology core to their offering.

This shift is not as simple as it seems. It’s going to take more than a viral video or a strong email list to make this new business model viable.

Here’s what the research says about what agencies capabilities must be:

  • Agencies can’t just keep pace with marketing technology, this needs to be a core competency.
  • Agencies must have strong technology partnerships and layer on top of it innovative services. Brands will favour agency partners that have a true working and integrated relationship with the technology providers.
  • Agencies need to provide superior customer experience strategy, mapping, and deliverables. Brands are shifting their marketing dollars from advertising to customer experience.
  • Agencies will need to bulk up on content marketing, web/mobile development, and advertising technology, not as stand-alone centers of excellence, but how these services integrate and deliver against real metrics and goals.
  • Agencies can’t just position themselves as experts in this space, they will need to demonstrate how they build, nurture, capture and extend these experiences. This will be more important than telling brands that they are either a full-service agency or a specialist.
  • Agencies can’t just talk and sell data. Analytics, personalization, testing and optimization are not just dreams of the future. The technology is here to do this – in a cost effective way – now. These tools drive new customers to brands and help to retain the older ones.
  • Agencies need to get better (much better) at figuring out how to integrate the various agency partners’ results. Someone must understand how all of these agencies and all of their datasets fit together. Right now, there are plenty of gaps, and this results in less than stellar results for the brand.
  • Agencies will not differentiate on strategy and creative.

According to Forrester, the agency of the future will differentiate on data and technology. As the need for these technologies and services continues to rise, the agencies that succeed will be the ones who are truly “cross-channel data experts who create new sources of value for clients through strategic technology partnerships.”

The message is pretty clear. You can’t do it all yourself in-house. You have to find technology partners that provide customer experience mapping and engagement, data capture, reporting, and analysis. My Brother Darryl is your next partner. We have over twenty years of experience developing and implementing marketing technology solutions for Agencies, Broadcasters, and Brands. Contact My Brother Darryl to find out how we can be your next collaborative partner.

 

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