Trends Disrupting Agencies in 2014

by · January 14, 20149 comments

The role agencies play for brands is changing. The disruption that is coming will require agencies to completely rethink how they approach servicing clients, how they structure their teams, and the services they offer clients. Further, it will require brands to take a hard look at their agencies to determine if they are able to meet their growing demands.

Agencies have long been though of as the thought leaders who are able to drive marketing innovation, however the rise of new marketing approaches include social media, mobile, and content marketing are forcing agencies to take a hard look at how they can fulfill the demands of their clients while keeping pace with technology that is literally changing and evolving right in front of us.

The following trends are set to turn the agency model on its head:

TrendFully-Integrated Media Strategy

Brands are starting to realize that a siloed approach to marketing channels isn’t going to deliver maximum results. The agency that used to come in and pitch a great idea for a public relations only campaign will be met with intense levels of scrutiny. Instead, agencies will need to consider how an integrated approach to all of the available marketing channels will help clients reach their goals. This will require brands to more fully integrate with their clients’ marketing teams so they understand the big picture.

Campaign-based Marketing Will Evolve into Story Telling

The idea of a marketing plan of running campaign after campaign is becoming passé. Instead, brands want long-term strategies that focus on story-telling not a catchy one month campaign. Agencies will need to consider a theme-based approach to story telling that helps to humanize brands and keeps them in the minds of their target audiences. This will lead to layered story based campaigns that are designed to tell a larger story, one consumable bite at a time.

Generalists Will Be More Important than Ever

Agency teams have been focused around combining a team of specialists aligned to a client’s needs. Hiring has been done based on what “specialty” someone brings to the table. However, with the need for an integrated approach that combines story telling brands will need to hire more generalists who understand how all of the marketing channels fit together to serve the greater goal. Generalists should be responsible for adding perspective and depth beyond a specific marketing tactic and pulling specialists together to show them how their efforts combine to create a snowballing impact for the client.

New Service Offerings will Emerge

Agencies will be asked to take a larger role in content marketing including producing content for clients. They will also be asked to fully understand how mobile impacts their clients. The client’s website and the content they produce are critical elements for agency and client success. You may see agencies adding content teams, user experience designers, responsive-design developers and mobile developers.

Ultimately, these changes will help push agencies forward. There’s only one question. Is your agency ready?

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About Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    My comment for this post is that, while all change is not progress, all progress requires change!

    • http://www.businessbanter.com/ Shameer Shah

      I like that! Works for me :)

    • Nichole_Kelly

      Great thought Patrick! I love it!

  • http://geekfree.net/ Aaron

    Nichole- Amen! As a strategist and “generalist” as you put it, I see businesses chasing around BSO’s (bright shiny objects) and never devising a clear strategy for defining and reaching target audience. Very good, short and concise article. Totally following you…er, not in a creepy way :) — Aaron

    • Nichole_Kelly

      Thanks for the feedback Aaron. I’m working on brevity and challenged myself to write this is 500 words or less while still making the point. I’m so glad it resonated. Feel free to follow…er, stalk to your hearts content. ;-)

  • http://www.brand.com/blog James R. Halloran

    “Agencies will be asked to take a larger role in content marketing including producing content for clients.”

    ^^ Definitely true! In fact, Brand.com seems like the perfect example for you. They improvised beyond one practice alone. They are, as you say, the new-age “generalists” that you speak of.

    They recently made a push beyond being a standard Online Reputation Management (ORM) company into an Online Brand Management (OBM) company, one that blends the practices of PR, ORM, content marketing and brand management under the same roof.

    They even own their own news publications. They’re very interesting. Check them out sometime!

  • http://www.swordandthescript.com/ Frank Strong

    I completely agree on the need for generalists. Those people that know enough about a lot to tie things together. This will also put a premium on specialists — when we need them — we are really going to need them.

  • Majestic Peak Marketing

    I love your this read! As a new Marketing Agency in Alaska, we’er always looking for ways to improve our marketing strategies for clients.

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