The complexity of modern marketing has forced B2B marketing agencies to act as guides to the new landscape for their clients, says Kirsty Gilchrist
These days marketing has become an impossibly complicated landscape for marketers faced with budget constraints, limited resources and a confusing choice of channels and technologies with which to reach their audience.
They’re sorting their intent monitoring from predictive analytics, social listening from programmatic and marketing automation from the martech stack, while juggling six or seven siloed agencies to manage digital, traditional, social media and ABM to deliver to one brief and one objective – creating another level of confusion and incoherence to manage.
The outcome is tactical briefs giving way to strategic conversations such as ‘what’s the most effective way to stand out and reach the people that count?’. Because in the jungle of marketing trends they need a guide to walk them through the ever-changing landscape; a native of the new lingo and technologies.
B2B agency evolution, not revolution
To meet the demands of today’s clients, B2B marketing agencies need to invest in the future. It’s our job to see the market changes and prepare for them.
Take martech. In 2011 there were 150 marketing technologies. By April 2018 there were 6242 unique solutions. This growth should come as no surprise to agencies who work with the multiple facets of data collection required to deliver a successful campaign every day.
Media is no different. The disparate media and marketing industry model we’ve grown with is broken, because where the brand used to own the engagement process the customer now does. Brands now need to consider audience insight, campaign activation and lead nurture throughout the entire creative process – and no longer as a different message via different channels with different goals and metrics.
What’s next? It’s already here – audio. Countless hours in the car, at the gym, or walking the dog, have now become opportunities to learn and grow for anyone with access to a smartphone. All of this doesn’t mean we have to reinvent the model. Just equip ourselves with the industry understanding to anticipate change and keep the client one step ahead of the market.
“In 2011 there were 150 marketing technologies. By April 2018 there were 6242 unique solutions”
Making the impossible, possible
You can no longer talk about media without creative. Or creative without data. Or data without digitisation. Integrating your knowledge and ability means you can deliver far more than can be conceived by a one-play agency. We relish the opportunity to get a range of experts in the room to deliver a solution that’s far outside the scope of what a single specialist agency could imagine. When our customers ask “Is that really possible?”, we know that it is.
Reaching the audience is one thing. Engaging them is another, which is why there is one fundamental attribute of the evolving agency that is in no need of reinvention: the creative talent. This is not just the creative team but an agency-wide culture that has a long-term creative vision for building brands and growing clients’ businesses.
This year’s league table features a record-breaking 95 agencies, and is chock-full of analysis, commentary and interview with the agencies themselves and on the state of the market.