Advertising Agencies Struggling to Lead Clients

If you work with or for an agency (either internally or externally),
what barriers to full marketing integration do you see?

In a state of rapid change, agencies are grappling with their roles as
marketing consultants and leaders to their clients.

In "Navigating the Agency Landscape" by Sean Corcoran for Interactive
Professionals published May 21, 2009 by Forrester, agencies are dealing
with a world of added complexities.

For one, consumer media consumption habits have fragmented at an
increasing rate with the advent of online marketing.

In addition, the internal skill silos and stress between competing
agencies have not gone away.

In addition, poor communications by client's and the lack of know-how
from client procurement teams exacerbate the problem.

So the research report from the Forrester authors provide some hard
guidelines to both agencies and their clients for breaking down the
silos that continue to waste energy and diffuse focus.

The first and most important of these is for the client to set clear
business objectives and the desired outcomes they expect from their
agency resource.

In fact, clients should recognize that agencies are equipped to lead
interactive marketing strategies.

Agencies, on the other hand, should not send the senior team out to
pitch the business and assign a junior team after winning the account.

The biggest lesson of all for advertising agencies is to redefine the
marketing mix to match the market realities by including social media
that have become an important part of the marketing opportunity.

As the report says so well:

"The walls keep tumbling down as traditional advertising models for
advertising, PR, and research evolve into customer centered
communication tools that enable listening, talking and interrelating
with customers and prospects on a regular basis."

The Forrester report goes into more recommendations and detail than we
can cover here. Suffice it to say that marketing always involved a
certain element of fast change and ambiguity.

Most people in the business gravitate toward ambiguity and intellectual
tasks that require creativity. But most of us are trained to drive
revenue with clear objectives and strategies. And companies now demand
results with new media that are still evolving and have not developed
mature evaluation criteria.

What other advice would you give to agencies and their clients to
create more balanced marketing programs?

Posted on June 9, 2009 and filed under General, Online Marketing.