The shifts in the marketWe have seen a few agencies start to use the CEA badge, and we expect this to increase. But beyond the badge, there is an underlying vision of the future that truly separates these agencies from much of the landscape.
Customers care about experience, not channels.The channel-centric approach has now passed. It used to make sense to organise marketing by the channel on which it would be received, but today, with a proliferation of channels, and an increasingly multi-channel consumer, it just doesn’t. If companies do not realise that customers don’t differentiate the technological and organisational challenges that exist between platforms, but just want the right communication sent to the most relevant channel, they run the risk of alienating the very customers they are working elsewhere to acquire. Customer-centric companies aim to deliver a seamless and co-ordinated experience across every channel.
Marketing in the future will shift from brand push to consumer pull.We have been banging this drum for a while. Campaign is such an ugly word, with connotations of a military assault to subdue an enemy! We believe ongoing, iterative conversations are a better description of modern marketing. For an amusing look at the shift from push to pull, have a look at the Content Marketing Manifesto we wrote a while ago. Customers will continue to create huge volumes of data, but they will get more savvy about managing it. Marketers who respect this, and give value for the data exchange will win, by helping the end customer win. Product-centric marketing will gradually be overtaken by customer-centric propositions.
Marketers must evolve to meet their customer’s expectations.The challenge facing modern marketers is to meet and exceed consumers’ relentlessly rising expectations. This is not just an evolution of tools and approaches, but a new approach which is based on the fundamental shift from push to pull marketing. The campaign approach will no longer generate the returns, goodwill or ongoing relationships necessary for succeeding. Understanding the customer is vitally important. And not just understanding their social-demographic bracket. Real, evolving, customer intelligence is vital to deliver on the promise of relevance to every consumer. And marketing must change, to be able to not only record, but activate this intelligence within it’s communications.
The Shifts in Agency-LandAlongside the shifting nature of marketing, the agency landscape is changing fast. Existing competencies are shifting in importance, and new capabilities are being demanded by clients. We are seeing media agencies building up owned and earned media teams, whether called “social”, “digital” or “content”; we are seeing PR agencies fight for digital work, and digital agencies take on PR staff; we are seeing direct agencies build in creative competencies and creative agencies that start caring about data. Everyone is making a different sized land-grab in a different direction. As Forrester have stated, marketers need a new type of agency to help them evolve.
Forward-thinking agency leaders are adding services and changing how they approach the marketing ecosystem, shifting from a traditional campaign-centric view of the world to one of continuous customer engagement. We call this emerging class of providers “customer engagement agencies” (CEAs) and define them as: Agencies that focus on defining customer-oriented business strategies and mapping them to tactics and execution. They help clients maximize customer profitability and optimize customer experiences by applying data and analytics to every interaction.What do these new agencies look like?