Be Careful What You Wish For?

by Jay Deragon on 09/04/2008

There seems to be a huge demand from marketers for resources who understand all this social stuff.

Sapient’s marketing services group released: Survey Reveals Brand Marketers’ Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future

Survey respondents were asked about the top qualities they sought in their advertising and marketing agencies in the coming year. Based on the survey results, Sapient Interactive, Sapient’s marketing services group, has created a Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future.

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 Web2.0 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.

What Is Missing?

As agencies seek resources that can fill the “top ten” attributes it appears as though something very important is missing. How about being able to assess a brands capabilities to live up to the promises of a social media campaign? Just having the knowledge and know how of all this social stuff is only one side of the success equation. The other side is having a brands organization, culture, product and service quality etc etc which is in alignment with the true meaning of “social”.

No one resource or collection of agency resources can transform a brands operating culture, systems and management talents. That is the job of brand leaders and unless the marketing agency aligns the message with the organizations capabilities you have a “social disaster” waiting to happen.

Remember, all this social stuff is not simply an extension of old market methods. It is a replacement of methods based on human relations and not hype.

Get it? What say you?

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