Few industries are escaping the squeeze from emerging technology and data-driven entrants. With this backdrop, one would ask why we are still not radically shifting away from the tactics of the past and adopting a smarter and more widespread transformation.
The report highlights that the marketing community is clear that the pillars for future success reside in smarter application of data and marketing technology to deliver engagement, personalisation and improved customer experience, leveraging new devices.
In contrast, however, 59 per cent of marketers say they are yet to move away from a "campaign mentality" (source: Altimeter) and more than half say they are still not using data effectively. So what’s the solution?
Leadership. Most senior marketers have operated in a world that is broadcast first and engagement second, and the transition is proving difficult. Despite robust revenue growth and unparalleled inflation, the TV market globally is on the brink of disruption.
Agencies must behave more like consultants and focus on the 'why', not immediately jump to the 'how'
Talent and expertise. The two biggest priority skills lamented by advertisers as absent are in "marketing technology operations" and "digital engagement".
Agility. Most marketers work in large organisations that suffer from corporate inertia. The time it takes to navigate compliance for tactical marketing content, connect data cross-division or, indeed, restructure the marketing department itself is a consistent bugbear.
I’m a firm believer that the new generation of agencies can and must help solve this triumvirate of challenges. Agencies are, in my view, far better-placed than management consultants to drive this transformation. They are inherently fast-moving, creative organisations with depth and breadth in talent, have an understanding of human behaviour and critically follow through from strategy to activation to measuring effectiveness.
There are brilliant examples of emerging channel experimentation today, but most still fall into the "campaign" bucket. Agencies must re-engineer their resources to provide consulting-like services that deal with the strategic priorities identified by the EIU report. Agencies must also behave more like consultants and focus on the "why", not immediately jump to the "how".
Some of this will be achieved through education and training. Greater flexibility from agencies is needed to place experts in clients’ businesses to embed new skills and help implement the necessary "plumbing" so that the future model can genuinely be embraced.
Paul Frampton is the chief executive of Havas Media UK