The ever changing, demanding, and competitive landscape of the marketing industry today is leaving many CMOs wondering how competitive and up-to-date their marketing agencies are against their nearest competition. Simply researching online and making a few phone calls for this type of answer certainly is not enough to gain true insight. Understanding the competition and where your agency relationship fits within the landscape is a crucial and necessary business exercise to undertake and benchmark. The best thing you can do for your company is undergo a full agency search to fully obtain a true and full picture to these inquiries. Throughout this blog, I will be speaking to the benefits in finding the right agency partner, outside of the typical cost saving structure.

When undergoing an agency search, the most ideal situation is when marketing and sourcing work as one collaborative team. It is procurement's role to both achieve a solid equilibrium between cost and value and facilitate of a prosperous, long term relationship between marketing and their creative agencies. Having the right parties involved goes hand-in-hand in the success of this initiative. Through marketing procurement, you will be able to assess the scope of work per each of your relationships and pinpoint any duplicate deliverables. This will allow you to consolidate overlapping work and negotiate better terms around the specific campaigns. Alongside this, you will be able to breakdown any barriers between brand silos. Even though each brand may have its own vision, through consolidation of SOWs, there is typically overlap identified within the type of services each brand is receiving. This will allow room for consolidation and negation as one entity. Also, efficiencies across the full brand portfolio will occur and alignment amongst the marketing departments will transpire allowing for decisions to be made together as one synergized team.

There are many benefits in finding the right agency to be your strategic partner. You obtain more than just marketing expertise. When outsourcing some, if not all of your marketing initiatives, you obtain outside marketing talent, access to cutting-edge technology, synergies amongst in-house and agency partners, and full transparency into all initiatives. While encompassing outside talent, you obtain access to marketers with unique backgrounds and experiences, differing educations and new ideas into marketing strategies. As we all know, within the marketing landscape, you must remain current on the latest trends. Not all in-house marketers have the time to constantly educate themselves on the ever-changing social media trends, content marking, SEO, and technology. With an outsourced marking agency, there is no learning curve. Creative agencies are constantly educating themselves on the latest marketing trends occurring throughout the landscape. They typically stay well-informed on the latest tools, technologies, and strategies, which allows them to incorporate the latest and greatest to your marketing needs. Allowing a creative agency to bear most of the burden, gives your in-house staff room to concentrate on critical developments and synergize with the creative agency to form the most strategic plan to market.

According to Matrix Marketing Group, marketing departments are often technology deprived, due to being at the bottom on the IT department’s priority list. Throughout your agency search, you will be able to identify the types of marketing tools and technology each agency offers. Technology trends are important for any business to maintain your competitive landscape, impact how your customers reach your business, and influence growth within your brands. To give an example, advertising agencies are trending towards reliance on automation. Ad Age states that, “Plenty of advertisers today are buying digital ads without speaking to a single human at a media company, and print and TV ads might not be far behind. Automated, or programmatic, buying is growing not only because it makes ad transactions more efficient but because it can make them more effective, as long as the right data is applied.” Keep in mind, these tools do not provide the actual marketing services. They do require a marketing expert who can apply the appropriate data and interpret the output data, and in turn, can then strategize smart decisions to apply to your campaigns; an outsourced marketing agency can do just this. Overall, you want your business to thrive and remain current, and when having access to the technology and marketing experts to apply and analyze the data, you have the advantage on your side.

During my experience working for 2 major U.S. Retailers, I’ve learned you always want to be ahead of the game, especially in regards to your competition. We all know the saying, “Sink or swim,” which is very prevalent in the business world today. One of the retailers, unfortunately, reminded behind the curve, followed the trends and is currently beginning to sink; the other works hard to remain ahead of the game in all verticals of business and continues to innovate every day. You want to be the leader, the trend setter, not the follower. Undergoing an agency search will give you great insight on where your incumbent marketing agency stands against the market, access to unlimited human talent and will give you measure on where you fall within current trends and technology. This process may take time, but in the end, it is tremendously worth it to keep your business alive!

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Liz Skipor

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