Over the last several months, there have been countless articles written, speeches given, and seminars attended about the “Agency of the Future.” The idea of this futuristic operating model focuses on the importance of integrating and accepting technology as part of the agency’s DNA and follows the logic of evolution. However, what many marketers describe as this futuristic agency does not take into account the true, long view.
The reality is, the future is not some far off place. We are working in it today, and more importantly, the end users targeted by nearly every brand are already living in the future, and so are their expectations. Consumers are more connected than ever before. They are plugged in over multiple devices so that while they are watching TV, they are tweeting about your brand, browsing your eCommerce site and purchasing your product – all from the comfort of their home.
To survive and thrive in this omni-channel world that we are now living in, agencies must help their clients create personalized brand experiences that engage consumers at every turn. Agencies must know how to capture and understand human behavior, and then combine that data with next-generation technology and storytelling, so as to create lasting value for consumers that drive meaningful results.
So how can agencies help their clients drive this new level of interaction? It’s simple. Agencies must go back to the fundamental basics of marketing. The “agency of the future” must once again become vigilant about customer research and brand planning.
Here are a few tried and true methods to follow:
- Audiences – Segmentation allows us to interact with subsets of our target audiences or users. We can influence users at a micro level. We can speak differently to the person who responded to our TV placement than the one who clicked on a banner ad. We can also know how to influence them when they come back, or after they’re customers and want to purchase more. Agencies should be focusing on subsets of our customer audiences.
- Tactical Execution – Changing marketing mix, or large-scale technology platforms, is a daunting task. Yet as agency partners, we should look to areas where we can influence change, drive business results, and engage customers as the priority. Agencies and clients must be aligned on objectives and strategy, but it is the agency’s role to translate the big picture into concrete action.
- Tools – Yes, this means technology. Clients are wowed by the capabilities these tools bring. Marketing technology has evolved at an incredible rate. If we can focus on programs that utilize technology that our clients already own, we can drive profitability.
- Storytelling – The aforementioned items will only find true success when combined with powerful storytelling. Agencies must use data to understand where a consumer is in the engagement cycle and what action was taken when presented with a specific message. The data now is more meaningful, and we can replicate the journey to another user or audience type with similar behavior.