Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Brand Marketers aim to receive digital expertise from their advertising and marketing agencies.

September 16th, 2008 by

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Sapient recently sponsored a national online survey to gain insights into what marketers want from their advertising and marketing agencies in the next 12 months. The survey polled more than 200 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing professionals.

Two points can be derived out of this survey:
I. Traditional advertising agencies are now at risk of losing their clients.
II. Agencies should acquire Social Media expertise.

Traditional advertising agencies are now at risk of losing their clients:

    1. More than a third of marketers surveyed reveal that they are not confident that their current agency can serve their needs in the online digital marketing and interactive advertising.
    2. 45% of the respondents have switched agencies (or plan to switch in the next 12 months) for one with greater digital knowledge or have hired an additional digital specialist to handle their interactive campaigns.
    3. 79% of respondents rated “interactive/digital” functions as ‘important/very important.

Agencies should acquire social media expertise:

    1. 90% of respondents agree that it is becoming increasingly important that their agency uses ‘pull interactions’ such as social media and online communities rather than traditional ‘push’ campaigns.
    2. 94% of respondents expressed interest in leveraging virtual communities (public and private) to understand more about their target audience.
    3. 92% of respondents said it was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important that agency employees use the (social media) technologies that they are recommending.
    4. 49% of marketers surveyed said that agencies with chief digital officers are more appealing than those without.
    5. 63% of marketers surveyed said that an agency’s Web 2.0 and social media capabilities are ‘important/very important’ when it comes to agency selection.

    Note: Full survey methodology including the research firm to conduct this research was not revealed by Sapiens.

Still, I think this trend is a real one. What do you think?

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8 Responses

  1. Helge Tennø Says:

    I’m loving this :o) Can’t wait for the trend to move to Norway :o)

    Excellet, Thx.

  2. Rupesh Mandal Says:

    well, i m working with a social media agency in India and from my experience all i can say is – social media campaign run well only if the actual marketers for the service/product .etc. are involved in the drive rather than a 3 tier architecture of Actual Marketers Ad Agency Social Media agency.

    The best option is to have a social media team inhouse within the marketing team rather than outsourcing it.

  3. Anne Says:

    I’m of the thought that it depends on the size of the agency, I would rather stick to what I’m good at and that’s design and then collaborate/partner with specialist digital agencies, and employ a bridge person who is the social media expert.

  4. Adam Daugherty Says:

    I agree with the basic premise and the overall point you are making, but there are some things we have to remember. First, this avenue of advertising is new, and with new and interesting options, some clients tend to get overly excited about how new ideas can improve their brand. Social media may be a great way to promote a brand, but it also may not. It can also be hard for agencies to prove “expertise” since social network advertising is so new. Even those that fully understand the concept and how to use it don’t necessarily have the portfolio to prove their wealth.

    Second, those with social media expertise are really still few and far between. Like myself, there are those that understand how to utilize social networks, but are not experts in the concept. In my case I was only able to learn what I know because I came across someone that knows a great deal. There just aren’t enough people out there teaching others the principles and opportunities.

    And third, I think the trend of clients dumping their agencies for those more web 2.0 educated has also has a great deal to do with poor account planning. A lack of web advertising expertise can be combated with the right mix of different strategies (print, TV, digital, etc.) that work together to create more engagement.

    Having said all of that, I agree with your assessment that social networking is for real in the advertising realm and isn’t going away. However, it is removing eyes from other mediums where advertisers are accustomed to performing. Because of this, agencies need to learn how to incorporate these strategies with more traditional ones. Along with one the previous comments, I agree that having this expertise in house is best, but don’t think it is necessarily realistic. I think the best thing to do is find a planner (account, brand, or what have you) that understands the tool and how utilize it, allowing for the incorporation of 3rd party shops capable of creating social network ads.

    Taly, I’m not sure of the social networking difference between the UK and US, but in the US I don’t believe that this is necessarily a trend anymore, it’s here and going nowhere.

  5. Scott Rowe Says:

    In my personal experience I have found the these to be the biggest issues for a traditional agency.

    1) The complete lack of understanding of digital, social, online and direct marketing techniques within the account staff. Without training these core people how to create a strong integrated marketing campaign you’re doomed for failure.

    1) The inability for the old “Creative Department” to understand it does not have exclusive rights to creative thought within an agency. In many ways Media has become the new creative.

    Agencies need to push their creative directors and creative staff the think outside of their comfort zone that is print, billboards, that stale :30 spot.

    Social Media and Interactive (when appropriate depending on the strategy) must be integrated into a marketing plan. Two-way consumer/customer engagement is here to stay.

  6. Adam Daugherty Says:

    Great point Scott!

  7. Serafima Bogomolova Says:

    I find all of the above comments useful and informative! I agree with points listed by Scott Rowe. Personally I come from content provider side not agency’s client side or an agency itself. And as an innovative content provider I have been spending months showcasing Advertising Media Agencies new ways of approaching advertising and utilizing new technologies and products created in new technologies. The result: I still have not convinced them!

    I think it is an extraordinary situation when clients want more of interactive and digital, agencies do not have expertise, audiences are moving online and creating their own worlds and disregard traditional efforts agencies make, and innovative content providers cannot breakthrough to agencies!

    The question is: is there any use of hiring an agency then? It would probably save money and effort if companies had in-house teams that could make their own decisions in regards to what interactive media they need and why…

  8. Mike Laurie Says:

    Sounds like utter flannel.

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