The single biggest opportunity that agencies have to remain relevant and grow significantly is to provide marketing and business strategy services to clients.
That’s according to a just-completed study by Effective Brands, which was commissioned by the 4As to examine what the successful ad agency will look like in 2020.
Marketers are used to paying for such advice, said Marc de Swaan Arons, a founder of Effective Brands, who presented an overview of the study at the 4As conference in Los Angeles on Monday. “They’re not used to paying you for it.” he added, referring to advertising agencies.
Agencies and clients agree for the most part on what the big trends are, said de Swaan Arons, like the need for speed, collaboration and the ability to act on big insights. But there is disagreement on whether agencies are on top of those trends.
For example, said de Swaan Arons, “agencies think they are reacting fast, but clients disagree.” Agencies think they’re adequately leveraging big insights on behalf of marketers. “But clients don’t,” he added.
So-called “over-performing” agencies collaborate more effectively with outside agencies and other firms on behalf of their clients, per the study. For under-performers, there is a “lack of clarity” about how to collaborate successfully.While consumers increasingly want to know what brands stand for, marketers say they’re not clear on what many agencies stand for, other than “making money,” de Swaan Arons said. There is a perception among clients that agencies spend too much time “celebrating what they do,” when they should be “thinking beyond what they do for the [benefit of the] bigger world.”