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Agencies in marketing and communication services have expanded their reputation for demonstrating strong creativity and executional skills to also building upon a scientific body of knowledge that relies on data, analysis, and performance. Those that haven’t risk being devalued in the eyes of their clients.
For the future of advertising, we can expect a world shaped by the collective impact made by macro-level market business and social dynamics, as well as new socio-demographic and technology-based advancements. The evolution of Madison Avenue is the result of a technology revolution and is not just isolated to the agencies in cultural epicenters like New York.
Strategizing For The Future
Advertising departments and marketing leaders are ready to see how their agency partners will take advantage of these advancements and increase efficiencies in communication and outcomes. What we can expect is agencies that will step up their game and lead by driving greater relevancy and value in their offerings.
Today’s agencies are focused on creating work styles that are more about partnerships than vendor relationships. For example, they are sharing office space with clients to be closer to their heartbeats and to reduce overhead. When they’re not plugged in that way, they’re using communication software and technology such as video conferencing to narrow the space/time gap between them and their clients’ worlds.
When it comes to technology, agencies are collecting customer data and embracing data management and analytics to enrich their targeting and optimization competencies. They are producing rich branded content versus simple advertising. They are preserving and licensing more intellectual property, especially software and digital tools developed as a by-product of a client assignment, and they are developing and distributing original experiences or creative content at a premium.
Brand advertisers are looking for more technological intuition from their agencies, too. Consider the introduction in recent years of a voice-marketing strategy as brands seek to build stronger and more engaging customer experiences when working with products like Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Many brands are reviewing their agency rosters looking for strategic and technical competencies in voice marketing. With so much noise about voice marketing in the marketplace currently, how voice fits into the larger context of their marketing efforts will remain a constant concern for brands and marketers, and they’ll be looking for expertise from their agencies.
Bottom line, in the end, the agency model of the future will be more like an ecosystem of interconnected competencies, fueled by constant innovation.
Recognizing The Value Of Change
Agencies are waking up to their value, driven by a new accountability for success, and they want a piece of the action. Advertisers are noticing a healthy change in agency attitudes and aspirations. And the agencies that will succeed are those that understand that marketing strategy is, first and foremost, about business strategy. They harness their clients’ solutions to demonstrate that smart marketing is about enabling meaningful end-to-end conversations and experiences between brands and audiences.
It’s a brand new ball game. If agencies of the future play it well, they can more effectively address what clients need from them. And one cannot argue with the long-term economic and social impact of game-changers like technology-based digital lifestyles that touch the consumer 24x7x365—and how they are shaping the industry that feeds from it.
“Madison Avenue” as a homogenous phenomenon is perhaps an outdated icon that holds its place in the annals of the advertising industry of the 20th century. But the agency world is fundamentally its own catalyst in revolutionizing the business of how clients establish, maintain, and grow relationships with their customers. The agency model of the future is dependent on energized client/agency partnerships that extensively rely on solid data, technology, and analytics, as well as a mutual understanding of priorities and what constitutes tangible value.