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How agencies are now working with clients


Gartner famously predicted that chief marketing officers will be spending more on IT than the chief technical officer by 2017[1]. In the past, a digital brief to create a brand’s new website would rest in the hands of the technical team, but CMOs are becoming more powerful with many gaining a growing share of the IT budget. In this fast moving digital world, it’s no longer just a case of the tech team working with an agency on a new website. A change in a brand’s digital presence now involves more stakeholders at the table.

To stay ahead in digital, there is a need for constant collaboration and integration between the agency and the business at all levels. Creative agencies have to be more flexible and immerse themselves into client operations. Only then can businesses be truly forward thinking and focussed on delivery for the customer.

1)  Business decisions

CMOs want to work with agencies that understand and challenge their business. This role is becoming more powerful, but decisions can still be made by other areas of the organisation. The key is for creative agencies to be more like business consultancies with the design experience built in.

2)  Skills

As projects become larger and remits broaden so does the need for agencies to find partners with complimentary skill sets. Very few digital agencies can manage large-scale transformation projects without bringing in wider experience. The sponsorship of digital events from the likes of Deloitte and Accenture is a measure of how mature the industry has become. Small agencies might not be able to match these industry giants with the same skills base, but can use the same principles and strategy to collaborate effectively.

3)  It’s not just about getting sign-off from the CMO

Agencies are increasingly engaging with other business units such as operations to ensure there is complete buy-in across the organisation. From the start, multi-scale engagement from the digital agency enables the CMO to obtain sign-off more easily with backing from all divisions.

4)  Organisational structure

A common question today is whether the client is equipped to deliver such a digital transformation. At the start of the relationship, are there any resource gaps within the organisation that the digital agency needs to fill? Knowledge may also need to be transferred with collaborative planning and by training the IT and operations teams involved. Once there is a seamless understanding, the agency can then ease back.

5)  Content

A successful digital experience now often relies on the content at the business’ disposal when the agency starts work. It’s vital an agency understands what relevant content is available now and what is likely to be created in the future. How does the content get used by the business and where can the agency provide additional support to harness the value of this information.

6) Data

CRM will increasingly play more of a part in creating the best digital experiences. Both qualitative and quantitative research data is vital to achieving a rounded understanding of the customer before commencing digital projects.