New media channels and data raise agency profits

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Brands and direct and digital marketers get candid about the challenges and opportunities
Brands and direct and digital marketers get candid about the challenges and opportunities

For Shapiro, building a consumer experience on the Web, mobile or any other kind of digital platform requires more than extending experiences from more traditional channels.

“It's not enough for digital to be a microsite that extends a TV campaign or a Facebook ad buy,” Shapiro explains. “It's about evolving all aspects of your business around technology and consumer behavior on the Web.”

Brands still demand creativity

Faced with competition and new technologies, agencies can sometimes forget one of their core offerings: creative. While it is true that agencies must learn to create more sophisticated platforms that integrate across channels, brands still want agencies to innovate.

For Draftfcb, the goal is to focus on its “creative accountability,” says Laurence Boschetto, CEO and president of Draftfcb. “The idea still dominates and ignites the channels that lead to a simple goal: increased sales,” Boschetto says.

While most brand managers are looking for accountability, they still want to see agencies that are willing to push boundaries and take marketing to new places.

“Agencies must challenge the status quo,” says Patrick McLean, VP of digital brand strategy at Capital One. “If an agency is only following instructions from their client, they won't last very long. They must innovate and bring thought leadership to the relationship.”

But agencies aren't the only ones who can get stuck in their ways. Some push to innovate and present new and challenging work, only to be met with resistance from clients. This can be a challenge, especially when clients are not embracing new consumer behaviors.

Morel says that there is “a gap between those who operate at the pace and depth demanded by the new consumer behaviors and those who cling to traditional ways of working.”

Mobile and social media platforms will continue to take center stage in agency work this year, as more brands are looking to drive transactions on social commerce pages and tablet-optimized e-commerce sites. But it is no longer acceptable to only have a mobile-optimized website or just a Facebook page. Brands are looking for their agencies to create robust platforms and form long-term goals that will drive conversions. This means looking at customer behavior holistically and tying these new media channels into tried-and-true offline channels. For example, agencies should be connecting mobile phones with in-store experiences and tablet shopping platforms with catalogs.

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