As it is, more than a quarter of marketers surveyed said from half to all of their marketing is done via digital channels, and nearly 40% foresee that in 12 months from half to all their marketing will be done via digital channels:
The respondents, all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for managing digital marketing budget allocation across multiple channels, were asked about the top qualities they sought in their advertising and marketing agencies in the coming year.
Based on the survey results, Sapient Interactive, Sapient’s marketing services group, issued a Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future:
1. Greater knowledge of the digital space
More than one-third of marketers surveyed said they are not confident that their current agency is well-positioned to take their brand through the unchartered waters of online digital marketing and interactive advertising.
Nearly half (45%) of the respondents have switched agencies (or plan to switch in the next 12 months) for one with greater digital knowledge or have hired an additional digital specialist to handle their interactive campaigns.
Regarding an agency’s area of expertise, 79% of respondents rated “interactive/digital” functions as “important/very important.”
2. More use of “pull interactions”
Nine in 10 respondents (90%) agree that to engage consumers with their brand it is increasingly important that their agency uses “pull interactions” such as social media and online communities rather than traditional “push” campaigns.
3. Leverage virtual communities
An overwhelming 94% of respondents expressed interest in leveraging virtual communities (public and private) to understand more about their target audience.
4. Agency executives who use the technology they are recommending
92% of respondents said it was “somewhat” or “very” important that agency employees use the technologies that they are recommending – such as Facebook, Flickr, wikis, blogs, – in their personal social media mix.
5. Chief Digital Officers make agencies more appealing
43% of marketers surveyed said agencies with chief digital officers are more appealing than those without.
6. Web 2.0 and social media savvy
63% of marketers surveyed said an agency’s Web 2.0 and social media capabilities are “important/very important” when it comes to agency selection.
7. Agencies that understand consumer behavior
76% of respondents deemed this as an “important/very important” aspect of their agency’s online digital marketing and interactive advertising area of expertise.
8. Demonstrate strategic thinking
77% of marketers surveyed ranked strategy/brain trust capabilities at the top of their agency wish list.
9. Branding and creative capabilities
67% of respondents ranked branding at the top of their agency wish list while 76% ranked creative capabilities as “important/very important.”
10. Ability to measure success
65% ranked analytics at the top of their agency wish list.
“Marketers want agencies that can deliver on these demands today – not by 2009 and beyond,” said Gaston Legorburu, chief creative officer, Sapient. “As the interactive channel becomes increasingly important, only those agencies that can create, manage and measure multi-channel campaigns will stay relevant and thrive in an uncertain economy.”
About the survey: The Agency of the Future Survey is a national survey designed to provide insight into what marketers want from their agencies in the next 12 months. Sponsored by Sapient, the survey was conducted via email and polled more than 200 respondents, all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for managing digital marketing budget allocation across multiple channels.