Agencies 'must keep up with digital'

Ian Armstrong, the manager of customer communications at Honda UK, this week urged agencies to get to grips with digital marketing or lose out.

Speaking at the unveiling of new research from Haystack, he said digital is changing the structure of marketing itself. "We will take insight from wherever we can in seeking to work out what to do in the space," he said.

The research revealed that only 4 per cent of clients feel their advertising agencies have kept up well with developments in digital marketing.

A staggering 65 per cent feel their ad agencies are not delivering at all in the sector, while 26 per cent feel that their traditional media agencies are getting to grips with the discipline and offering good online planning and buying. Just 11 per cent of clients feel DM agencies have kept up well with developments in digital.

Haystack polled 85 clients from FMCG, retail, travel and finance to discover what they think the impact of digital media will be on their business and the role they want agencies to play in that process.

More than 70 per cent of those polled said digital was important to their business, and more than three-quarters felt that specialist digital agencies are most likely to keep up with developments in digital and are therefore the most appropriate suppliers to use.

Andy Edge, the sales and marketing director at the Tussauds Group, said: "Ad agencies still don't seem to have moved on from their safe world of print and TV from either a planning or an ad- creation perspective."

Suki Thompson, the managing director of Haystack, added: "Every ad agency claims it can do digital but clients are saying it is all talk. Agencies need to invest, restructure and change the way they offer services if they want clients to take them seriously."

- Opinion, page 25.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).