David Parker

Agency business technology trends for 2013 that you cannot ignore

Social enterprise software

Smart agencies will start using “social enterprise tools” like chatter, jive, yammer to communicate and collaborate with clients more effectively. It is true that brands have leveraged more value out of internal “social enterprise networks” than their agencies, this is mainly because the brands are flatter in structure and operate more centrally with totally owned entities, on the other hand agencies are de-centralized, dispersed and often operate in “equity partnerships” thus preventing easy collaboration strategies. All agencies struggle to really offer global capabilities (though they say they do), however those CEO’s that are smart enough, will quickly realize that internal social platforms provide supersonic change/transformation to the way they can co-ordinate, communicate and co-operate on client service delivery, while engaging their clients in agile, informative, decision making and social business eco-systems.

Agencies will be forced out of their shells with regards to transparency, visibility and agility, why?

Because the brands have more insights into effective behaviors driven from marketing activities than the agency. One way the agencies are defending against this inevitable change is by forming vertical new physical agencies “team brand XXX” agencies, a good ploy, however initial investments can be high, the better policy may be to leverage across your entities using logical business layers supported by technology, allowing participation within the client group without any change of physical location or identity. The resulting client “Performance Management Platform”, can then be readily consumed by the client through easy accessed software tools.

Data analytics

Eventually the agencies will have to implement real-time agency “Performance Management Platforms” that integrate, “creativity, content, media and metrics”. This introduces “Big Data” the natural merging of data via ETL/MDM, but expressing enormous insights into marketing performance. Watch IBM, Accenture and other consultancy jump onto these solutions and maybe some of the digital/technology partnerships or natural aggregators like DOMO. So if you are a CEO of an agency, you better have one of these “PMP’ solutions in your portfolio otherwise I don’t see you breaking any new ground with your clients or leveraging the true internal talent and insights across and through your networks.

Marketing cloud

Marketing Cloud vendors will start building tactical relationships with brands and agencies, behaving like a “creative analytical brokerage” by combining creativity, execution with real-time metrics.

As a CEO of an agency, you only have one direction, start having deep tactical conversations with the market leaders, like Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce and the like because, they are going to increasingly take your revenue, unless you determine a strategic alliance that delivers both creativity and execution. As a CEO if you don’t know these technologies inside out, find out, otherwise you are on shallow ground. On the other hand, the vendors are still in a learning mode, making acquisitions is time consuming and repositioning combined solutions that work is more difficult than most know, so these vendors need agency insights into how to “activate” creativity, so now is the agency CEO’s chance to add value to the “marketing cloud” vendors.

There is a great ad by Aston University, where all the 11 year olds have some technology and the strap line is “technology changes everything”, if you are a brand or marketing services company, never a truer word should echo in your head daily throughout 2013.

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