What We’ve Learned as a Marketing Agency Fusing PR, Biz Consulting

As business practices change at an exponential pace so too has the evolution of the marketing agency.

The “Mad Men” era of wine, whiskey and women is a faded memory from the strategic, technical protocols of marketing agencies today. With the latitude of digital, mobile and social, the expectations of customers have become more complex and sophisticated than ever before.

In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds. By 2015 this had shrunk to 8.25 seconds.

Digital channels have amplified the critical need for agencies to evolve and adapt. Think back to Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner commercial or the recent United Airlines missteps. What was once a static relationship, the connection between brands and consumers has become a dynamic dialogue, with conversations continuing on forums such as Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter.

In the past, people have connected to traditional channels like TV, print, and radio. Marketing’s primary purpose back then was interrupting consumers with a message during content consumption. Social media has challenged this model by forcing brands to engage with consumers directly, in front of the public, with an authentic and human voice.

Online video is also now in the spotlight, with the popularity of YouTube and Facebook video content continuing to soar. As video production and sharing proliferate, online video consumes a larger share of Internet traffic. So large, in fact, that an estimated 74% of all Internet traffic will be video this year.

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Customer consumption patterns have changed enormously and at a faster pace than many could have predicted. Still, the role of the agency remains fairly unchanged: help a brand increase their sales and loyalty. Simple. Straightforward.

But, is it that simple?

In practice, marketing agencies are required to be more advanced, savvy, and sophisticated than ever before.

How do agencies adhere to their duty to help brands sell more and build stronger loyalty in such a disrupted and disintermediated world?

Let’s dive into how today’s modern-day marketing agencies stay ahead of the curve.

What Does Public Relations Have To Do With a Marketing Agency? 

To be a leading marketing agency you must have a wide range of knowledge. Today, teams normally include data analysts, marketing professionals, advertising experts, communications professionals, and content strategists. Previously, these skills had been siloed, compartmentalized and worked alone to increase brand sales and loyalty. This is not the case anymore.

Offering marketing solutions means covering a broad spectrum. Anything and everything could be considered marketing”. The meaning of the word, in itself, has changed dramatically.

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It’s become an all-encompassing term covering advertising, digital measurement & analytics, public relations, crisis management, user experience design and social media.

Most notably, there is an inherent union between public relations and marketing because they act in closest proximity to the customer. They both have a direct influence on our ability to engage a target audience, whether that’s through relevant messaging or dynamic digital advertising campaigns. The fundamentals of each are so intrinsically intertwined that it creates more complimentary, multifaceted campaigns when these two disciplines work together — not to mention a higher return on investment and value for the brand.

The highest purpose of marketing is to gather and analyze customer data based on the right set of tactics and then make conclusive decisions to implement further strategic initiatives. For instance, campaigns that lack engagement, inform the need to create new copy and creative; an A/B test on the purpose to capture leads for a whitepaper can suggest what users want, and what the barriers are for attention and conversion.

The highest purpose of public relations is to observe and listen to customers, interpret emotional responses and conversations and then create meaningful content or experiences as a result.

Marketing and public relations are cyclical in nature, both playing a key role in business development at every stage. That is why their union can strengthen the core mission of an agency — bringing more depth and complexity to processes, scope, goals, and deliverables.

What Does Business Consulting Have To Do With a Marketing Agency? 

While the basic model of business consulting has not changed, demand has dramatically increased for data-savvy counsel and creative. As much due to the disruptive effect digital has had on static business models and the rapid growth of startup culture, regardless of which industry you are in, the business model of your company must continuously change to adapt to changing business environments.

E-commerce websites are the ultimate example of how business models for B2C must adapt and evolve with user behaviours and purchase patterns.

Another relevant example is the music industry’s attempts to find a sustainable business model because of the digitalization of music. Now, Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music are competing for customers attention through their wide streaming music offerings.

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The changing marketing landscape is one of the most influential factors affecting business model stagnancy.

As consumer behaviour and expectations change, marketing tactics adapt to find the most relevant way for brands to increase sales and build loyalty. Without an appropriate business model, marketing efforts will be ineffective. It is important for consumer research and business model analysis to be intertwined, allowing an agency to accelerate unique business model prototypes and their brand positioning.

The Strategic Marketing Agency: Lean, Agile Process

In an attempt to tackle the intricate needs of small and medium business and enterprise brands, we believe it is essential to adhere to powerful lean, agile solutions. Our process involves multiple steps:

  • We begin each client project with a data-driven focus, evaluating metrics and outcomes.
  • In the next phase, we compile all applicable research.
  • In the development step, we create marketing campaigns that bend, move and iterate as we learn from different user behavioral patterns.
  • The results inform our success, and we measure, report and pivot or repeat based on the results. 

Implementing the lean approach forces an agency to be more nimble and adaptable. And, this ensures the best return on investment possible for the brands we work with, cultivating a collaborative partnership that evolves and adapts to the customer.

 

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