Forrester recently published an interesting article on “How To Optimize Your Interactive Agency Roster- A Process For Improving Agency Relationships In A Complex Landscape”
It’s a thought-provoking article that creates even more complexity in the digital landscape as it points out that marketers are increasing the size of their agency rosters while looking to cut costs. Here are three of the key issues facing marketers today, included within this article, and some personal insight.
Overall, I think it is time to consolidate and grow versus just adding agencies for growth’s sake.
- How many digital agencies is enough? The digital landscape is now becoming more crowded than ever. Marketers are using multiple digital agencies to meet a growing list of specialty services. Forrester even recommends hiring the production agencies for economic reasons. Marketers are hiring specialized Social Media agencies. While I am normally in favor of hiring the best agency for each job, I think the time has come to consolidate. A good Digital AOR should certainly be able to handle mobile and social media, and frankly, in some cases, the PR agency is the best avenue for managing all social media. I do not think Marketers are equipped to manage a myriad of relationships.
- Who should be the lead agency? Some marketers are already making the move to a digital agency lead. Others let their traditional agencies drive key aspects of the digital marketing effort. A proven formula does not yet exist and there is increasing blurriness by how digital responsibility is allocated among the “traditional” and digital agencies. Frankly, I have been advocating for over one year now to start moving more and more brand business to a great Digital AOR. The article points out how Pepsi and Ameriprise are leading the pack but this should happen much more quickly. Reducing the roster and hiring the best agency for the digital world is surely one way to streamline costs.
- What is the right process and toolkit to manage the new landscape? Marketers are not giving strong and consistent direction for digital work. There is a lack of available processes, briefs and evaluations developed to effectively manage the digital landscape. Some marketers have started down this road e.g. P&G. But, the majority still lacks this capability and need help. How self-serving is this comment? Quite. Yet, this is really the key to all of the above.
Determine, your objectives, priorities and method for evaluation, first and foremost. This has to be led from the Marketing, not agency side. The rest will then follow more easily behind.