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Technology Dominated the Ad Agency…and Your Marketing Department

Every second on the Internet…this happens. If you didn’t click, you’re missing out.

The title of this article shouldn’t be shocking. We’ve all seen how much technology has changed our lives and the way we do business. Rapidly changing technology means that engaging with consumers has become increasingly complex. Here in the Twin Cities, we’ve seen an explosion of search marketing, digital media, and data-driven marketing careers. Not surprisingly, if you’re a marketer in today’s world (ad agency and corporate alike) you’re going to be talking about things like measurement, engagement, conversion, building brand communities…all of which are driven by yes, you guessed it, technology.


Are you keeping up to speed?

Some questions to ask yourself: If you’re at an agency, do you consider your firm to be competitive in terms of the resources you have available? If you’re on the client-side, are you seeing real value added from your agency partners? Does your agency teach you new things or make you aware of insightful data on your brand? Similarly, do you know for a fact that your agency partners have bettertechnologies at their fingertips? The answer might surprise you. From what I’ve seen recently, there are a lot more cutting-edge emerging-growth and mid-size companies that are on pace to invest more in technology than mid to large-size agencies here in town. Have you seen otherwise?



Who will survive the digital revolution?

So, what does this mean for traditional advertising agencies? Who will survive the digital revolution? I think the agencies that will survive will be those who can generate great ideas and strategically integrate paid, owned, and earned media channels with their “big idea.” Great creative is a must. That goes without saying.

I finally got it one day (back in 2008) when I met the guy that created Mazda’s zoom-zoom campaign. He said, “I’m the zoom-zoom guy.” Oh, the zoom-zoom guy – you mean Mazda didn’t just come up with that itself? “Nope.” Ok, so back to my point: The agencies that will survive the digital revolution are those that consider every single marketing channel and create strategies that are fully integrated and leverage the unique strengths of all of every channel.

The new way of doing things.

Traditionally, agencies would have separate departments for different functions such as SEO, PPC, Media, Creative, Analytics, etc. What results from this? A silo-type mentality. I recently met with Carmichael Lynch, who saw this and changed it. They consolidated the agency’s research, analytics, and media groups into one strategic resource that now informs client work across numerous agency offerings.

This new model demands more open collaboration between individuals that have a broad strategic understanding of marketing and technology. The challenge now becomes that these types of individuals are few and far between, which means the successful agency must have a clear recruitment, training, and retention strategy. Furthermore, the internal focus of this collaborative team should not be the brand itself but the needs of the people buying from this brand or using its products. Well-crafted content should fulfill these needs with relevant engagement on the appropriate platforms.

Coming back to my corporate friends – this rings true for you as well. Beware of silos within your marketing department. Do you have a SEO person? An email marketing person? A web analytics person? Silos are simply treason to good ideas because they limit scope of thinking. CMOs and CIOs need to start chatting about collaboration and challenging structures to accommodate the challenges that technology is creating in the marketing mix.

Join in on the conversation and let us know what’s been working for your company. Who’s doing it right? Will those who aren’t be gone in 2-3 years, if not sooner? Like Bob Dylan song, the times they are a-changing. Are you?