New Agency Research

Sean Corcoran, Vidya Drego and I just published a report on The Future Of Agency Relationships. The report is written for CMOs and includes a call for marketing leaders to lead agency change to survive in the Adaptive Marketing era. We posit that marketers should assess their partners using three I's — ideas, interaction, and intelligence — to select the right partners. Sean posted a blog post this morning on the Marketing Leadership blog, and Ad Age featured the report on today’s front page.

Now that we’ve looked at the agency landscape from the CMO’s perspective, I’ll be authoring a report on the evolving Customer Intelligence agency and service provider landscape. For some time, I’ve been discussing the emergence of a Customer Engagement Agency. I think of the Customer Engagement Agency as representing the confluence of database marketing service providers, direct marketing agencies, and certain digital agencies. What’s evolving, however, is that the Customer Engagement Agency is moving beyond a campaign focus and is focused on its clients business challenges (it sounds obvious, but how often does your agency/service provider begin the discussion about technology, or channels, or audience, and not about strategy and business challenge?), and it has Customer Intelligence at its core. Customer engagement agencies infuse Customer Intelligence, and a focus on customer value, through all disciplines – strategy, creative, media, campaign execution, etc, and listen to and engage with customers over time and across channels and media.

So who fits the bill? I have my own ideas and will be publishing them late next Quarter – but I’d love to hear your thoughts. What changes do you see in the Customer Intelligence agency and service provider landscape? Who do you think is poised for success? And, why?




Future of Agency Relationships


Just read through your report on the future of agencies and their client relationships. Must say you are spot on. It is going to be quite a challenge for both clients and agencies (of all kinds) to adapt to this new world. Agility does not come easy - so much has to change. I suspect we will see a re-shuffling of the deck on the agency side - with many new players coming in and many incumbents falling behind.

I do think there will be waves on change, though. The folks you quote in the report are probably ahead of the curve. My feeling, based on several recent client conversations, is that many of them are still looking at this in a fairly siloed fashion. They will only change when two things happen. They see others leading the way and the pain of keeping so many different balls in the air becomes acute and starts to impact revenue and marketing performance.

Looking forward to your report on the agency end of things.

Naras Eechambadi