labels: marketing - general
Looking beyond traditional agencies for marketing innovationnews
28 December 2006

According to a study commissioned by Sapient Corporation only 1 in 10 marketing heads expect to partner with traditional agencies for their online marketing

Just over half (52 per cent) of chief marketing officers (CMOs) believe that traditional, large advertising agencies are ill-suited to meet online marketing needs, according to a study of senior marketing executives conducted by Evalueserve and released by Sapient Corporation (NASDAQ: SAPE).

Similarly, 49 per cent of the survey respondents believe that traditional advertising firms have difficulty thinking beyond traditional print and TV media models, which no longer are effective ways of engaging consumers who now get their information and influence one another primarily through digital channels.

As a result, fewer than 10 per cent of those polled seek to partner with large advertising agencies for their online marketing. Instead, the majority of senior marketing executives show a strong preference for blended firms - firms with roots in technology that can also offer creative and traditional print expertise.

Even more (68 per cent) prefer to work with multiple agencies, in order to derive the benefits of specialisation. Sapient's research, Electronic Media, Marketing and Advertising Buyer Value Study, surveyed more than 100 CMOs and senior marketers from the US and UK in a range of industries to understand the drivers behind their selection of marketing and advertising agencies.

Independent research firm Evalueserve conducted interviews for the study during the late summer of 2006. The study also examined marketers' views on whether traditional firms are equipped to handle the new marketing needs.

"Both corporate marketing organisations and agencies are undergoing seismic changes trying to create innovative marketing approaches that deliver real strategic business value," said Gaston Legorburu, chief creative officer and head of the experience
marketing practice at Sapient.

"But innovation doesn't just mean snapping some cool digital programs into a conventional advertising platform. Two of the greatest challenges companies are struggling with are how to measure the effectiveness of the marketing spend and how to operationalise their entire digital strategy. Most agencies and corporate teams are just not
equipped to do either yet."

The top six marketing buyer values
The study revealed that the six most important factors to a CMO when choosing a marketing partner today are (in order of importance to aggregate respondents):
1. Quality of creative content
2. Innovation and strategic value
3. Price / cost
4. Sophisticated analytics and measurement systems
5. Proficiency in emerging, interactive or digital media
6. Traditional print, offline and media buying services

The findings indicate an evolution in the CMO's marketing priorities.

When respondents were asked about their criteria for choosing a partner in the past, quality of creative content remained at the top of their list - but price / cost moved down a notch with innovation / strategic value now the No.2 criterion. Additionally, traditional print services are considered less important, now superseded by sophisticated analytics and a proficiency in digital media.

Marketing innovation - new ways to connect
CMOs now view strategy and innovation as a top factor in hiring a marketing agency. The majority of respondents understand marketing innovation as the creative use of new and emerging media.

"How important are strategy and innovation when considering agencies?" evoked a typical majority verbatim view, "In the new world of splintering media and new channels, marketing innovation means finding new ways to connect the brand to the customer and make it relevant so that we remain top of mind with the customer, even if they are not in the purchase process.

An innovative agency would be on the cutting edge of new technology (ie, media agnostic, looking for the right solution regardless of the execution channel). Local search, video on demand, broadcasting and blogs are all upcoming trends in interactive marketing."

Regional findings
Survey responses from the US and the UK were fairly consistent, with one major Exception - the view of traditional agencies. In the US, 64 per cent of respondents believe that traditional advertising agencies have difficulty thinking beyond traditional print and TV models, compared with only 40 per cent of UK respondents.

Accordingly, only 40 per cent of senior marketers in the US believe that traditional advertising firms are well suited to the new breed of online marketing needs, compared to 56 per cent of their UK peers.

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Looking beyond traditional agencies for marketing innovation