Marketers were asked, this is what they said.
1. Greater knowledge of the digital space. With more than a third of marketers surveyed revealing that they are not confident that their current agency is well-positioned to take their brand through the unchartered waters of online digital marketing and interactive advertising, it’s clear that agencies need to have a greater knowledge of the digital space in order to thrive. In fact, nearly half (45 percent) 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. Further, when it comes to an agency’s area of expertise, 79% of respondents rated “interactive/digital” functions as ‘important/very important.’
2. More use of “pull interactions.” When trying to engage consumers with their brand, 90 percent 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.
3. Leverage virtual communities. An overwhelming 94 percent of respondents expressed interest in leveraging virtual communities (public and private) to understand more about their target audience.
4. Agency executives using the technology they are recommending. Ninety-two percent of respondents said it was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important that agency employees use the technologies that they are recommending. For example, it is important that agency executives regularly use Facebook, Flickr, wikis, blogs, etc. in their personal social media mix.
5. Chief Digital Officers make agencies more appealing. Forty-three percent of marketers surveyed said that agencies with chief digital officers are more appealing than those without.
6. Web 2.0 and social media savvy. Sixty three percent 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.
7. Agencies that understand consumer behavior. Seventy-six percent of respondents deemed this as an ‘important/very important’ aspect of their agency’s online digital marketing and interactive advertising area of expertise.
8. Demonstrate strategic thinking. Seventy-seven percent of marketers surveyed ranked strategy/brain trust capabilities at the top of their agency wish list.
9. Branding and creative capabilities. Sixty-seven percent of respondents ranked branding at the top of their agency wish list while seventy-six percent ranked creative capabilities as‘important/very important.’
10. Ability to measure success. It’s no surprise that marketers want an agency that can report on where campaigns succeeded, fell short and where they should be fine-tuned. Sixty-five percent ranked analytics at the top of their agency wish list.
(the above list and commentary was pulled from this press release: Sapient - Survey Reveals Brand Marketers’ Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future).
The only challenge to calling the agency of the future the Digital Marketing agency of today is that we're not seeing enough interactive shops take the lead on points #8 (demonstrate strategic thinking) and #9 (branding and creative capabilities). More often than not, most Digital Marketing shops are adapting current/existing Marketing initiatives and are not taking the (or being given) opportunity to drive the over strategy in regards to the brand, marketing goals, outcomes and marketing optimization. It's happening is some instances, but for the Digital Marketing agency of today to really take full ownership of this list from the future, strategic thinking and becoming the guardian of the brand are essential.
What kind of agency are you working with and would you agree that this list looks strikingly similar to the core competencies of the Digital Marketing agency of today?