What Does the Future Hold For Agencies and Marketers?

If the past is any indication there is change in the future for agencies and marketers. I say that because according to a recent study conducted by Forbes Insights and sponsored by Oracle Marketing Cloud, 60% of brand and agency executives say their roles and responsibilities have changed significantly over the past two years.

However, as the report points out, this is just the start.

“As the changing nature of marketing impacts product development, sales and company culture, closer collaboration between brands and agencies is becoming more important than ever.”

There is an undeniable shift when it comes to agencies and marketers and as a result “forward-thinking agencies are ready to serve a higher purpose than just being ‘idea factories’ for individual campaigns, in the words of one executive in Asia.”

The executive in question is Jeff Cheong who is president of Tribal Worldwide Asia, a digital agency based in Seoul, South Korea. He believes the opportunity is to re-craft the traditional model to be able to say to a brand, “Maybe the solution to this problem is not an ad, maybe it’s new packaging or a shift in distribution, or a shift in how you sell the product.”

Another significant change is the working relationships between agencies and brands.  Modern marketing leaders such as Patrick Adams, head of consumer marketing, PayPal, North America are embracing new and closer working relationships.

Adams says he very often doesn’t delineate between his full-time employees and his agency staff. “They’re all seen as one and the same as the relationships become tighter and more significant.”

The Tech Effect

Technology has impacted pretty much everything so why should this be any different. The nature of relationships between clients, agencies, media partners and so has been greatly impacted by it (technology.)

Scott Brinker, author at Chief Marketing Technologist says large brands expected to have a single martech suite by now to handle everything. In speaking with The Drum Brinker noted: “It hasn’t happened yet as the market isn’t static,” says Brinker. “Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the Internet of things; hundreds of new technologies are coming to market every year,” he explains. “It’s not just like building the tower of Babel – it’s like building it while they change the blueprints each year.”

Stephan Beringer, chief executive of Publicis Groupe’s adtech hub VivaKi says building collaborative relationships between agencies, clients and technology providers is key to navigate the change.

As Oracle Marketing Cloud sales director Ghislain Lefebvre says we are focused on training all of our partners, including media agencies to be tech experts for their client in using OMC solutions – especially when it comes to using data management platforms (DMP) where specific skills and culture are important to doing so successfully.

The fact is clients are clearly at the center of this sea change. They are increasingly asking agencies and holding companies to simplify and scale (across geo and platforms) at the same time.  It is more than apparent that clients are are expecting even more change to come.

Not All Smooth Sailing

Of course change very often isn’t easy as it causes people to think and act differently than they have in the past; people get very comfortable – almost too comfortable. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why nearly half of the survey respondents said that evolving brand and agency roles are making successful collaboration more difficult.

But it would appear that many are not only aware of these changes but are accepting of it too as 60% of respondents said they believe closer brand and agency collaboration will become even more important in the coming year.

Since there is so much volatility and uncertainty going on when it comes to the agency/brand relationship you owe it yourself to join me Tuesday, September 27th at 2PM ET for The “Agency” of the Future: a Conversation with Stalwarts and Upstarts.

As part of Advertising Week this session will feature a panel discussion including myself, Andrew Bruce, CEO, Publicis Worldwide, North America, North America and Chris Lederer, Principal, Strategy&, a PwC member firm.

And for more insights and findings from the Forbes Insights study, download The Age of Brand, Agency & Customer Collaboration.

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