Today we released the report "The Future Of Agency Relationships" covered in AdAge today, in which we set out on a journey to answer the question: what is the role of agencies in the new marketing landscape? After over 50 in-depth interviews with marketing leaders, interactive marketers, procurement teams, agency leaders and industry organizations, one conclusion has become very evident - marketers must lead agency change. Virtually everyone we interviewed recognized that marketing is experiencing drastic changes, with interactive and digital technologies beginning to replace mass media as the foundation of marketing. At Forrester we call this the "Adaptive Marketing era" and it requires marketers to take a more flexible and always on approach to marketing due to the two-way communication that is now visible between consumers and companies. While most agencies are taking at least some steps to reinvent themselves, they can only go as far as their clients allow. And while many marketers are demanding agency change one moment, they’re still asking where their 30 second spot is the next. Marketers won’t see real change in the agency landscape until they begin to apply a new set of criteria to their agency partners.
Carrying on on the topic of innovation seemed rather right for trying out (rather belatedly) our new blogging platform. I've had interesting discussions with some of you recently about innovation and am both writing a report and creating a track session for our Marketing Forum in LA next month about how CMOs can/should plan for marketing evolution.
Where do you most focus your marketing innovation efforts today? Take my poll to the right as to where your marketing organization invests its resources.
Many marketers I've connected with spend most of their 'innovation time' and resources trying to figure out new media channels - social, mobile and still, digital. We do tend to think most about Promotion. But what about the other parts of the marketing mix?
Have you innovated in Place? Procter & Gamble has made online D2C sales a hot subject in the last months. Beyond e-commerce, have you rethought where your products are actually sold?
And what about the Products themselves? M&Ms lets people personalize the classic candy with their own words and photos. Has your marketing team used technology and customer proximity to change - even slightly - what you sell?
And the last P. Have you thought about Pricing innovation? I'm constantly annoyed at getting a worse deal from my mobile phone and cable providers than new customers coming in. Oh, and you can add magazine subscriptions to that stack. Beyond offers, when was the last time you rewrote your rules around pricing and introduced some novelty?
I look forward to your comments and thoughts. Have you seen interesting experiments in the market? Or are you working through some ideas yourself?
We've seen it happen a thousand times before: a marketer gets excited about an emerging field like customer analytics or social media marketing, develops a sensible plan of action, and then runs face-first into reality, which looks something like this:
"HQ has already signed off on my budgets for this year; this will have to wait until next"
"Maybe if I can get Peter, Paul and Mary to agree to this at the regional marketing love-in, we can work together to convince global to consider it in the future"
"I heard the trial in North America is going well; but by the time the roll-out progresses through Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, a year will pass"
"Stuff it; let's just do our own thing; HQ can worry about process and efficiency later"
In other words, adaptive brand marketing is hard for any company — but especially for multinational enterprises. But the world does wait for your next global conference call. Customers keep buying and talking and changing their behaviour, as do your competitors. MNCs have no choice other than to stay nimble in the age of the global matrix, which is the topic I'll speak about at Forrester's Marketing Forum 2010 in Los Angeles in April. See you there.
Forrester has relauched its blog platform to allow you to follow individual analysts and streams of research more easily. Here is what Cliff Condon, our guru of the new platform, has to say about the new platform. Please let me know what content you would like to see from the Marketing Leadership team as we build our individual and group voice on this new and more flexible platform.