Archive for the ‘interactive strategies’ tag
“History is full of industry leaders and business pioneers who have become irrelevant because they failed to innovate and evolve. Maybe it is the result of conservative cultures, poor leadership, a lack of will and vision, or the systematic inertia that builds from years of complacency. — The Marketing Agency Blueprint (Wiley), Chapter 9
In partnership with Ace Metrix, the CMO Council conducted an analysis of how its 6,000 global members are, “optimizing marketing partner performance and value in a digital world.” Consider the following highlights from the study:
- 9 percent of senior marketers believe traditional ad agencies are doing a good job of evolving and extending their service capabilities in the digital age. That means 91 percent are not!
- 51 percent see their agencies as playing catch-up in regard to new technology, or acquiring but not integrating digital marketing capabilities.
- 52 percent do not have a formal scorecard for rating agency performance on an annual basis.
- 48 percent of respondents report they are hiring specialized digital marketing solution and service providers to implement new social, mobile, and interactive strategies.
- 47 percent plan to build internal capabilities and use incumbent agency services less.
- 45 percent are bringing in outside consultants to help set up and structure digital programs.
- 49 percent of marketers report they will consolidate or change agencies over the next 12 months, and another 15 percent are not sure. That leaves only 36 percent firmly committed to their agency relationships in 2012.
- 36 percent require a wider range of services for the same monthly fee, placing even greater pressure on agency margins and efficiency.
Basically, CMOs know they need evolved talent and services, and yet the marketing-services industry at large has failed to adapt to match the rate of change and growth in demand.
“There’s an underlying level of frustration among senior corporate marketers worldwide when it comes to agency contributions to business value creation, strategic thinking, and digital marketing development.” Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director, CMO Council
What Are Agencies Waiting For?
As I wrote in chapter 9 of The Marketing Agency Blueprint, people fear the unknown. They resist taking the bold and decisive actions that are needed to survive because they don’t want to fail. However, we learn from failure. It builds character, teaches us humility, shows us how to cope with adversity, and challenges us to continually test, revise, and improve.
Marketing agencies are no different. Agency leaders become comfortable in their positions. They learn to ignore their instincts for change, instead favoring status quo. They make decisions to avoid short-term risk and pain, often to the detriment of their agencies long-term viability. Even worse, this tentativeness trickles down to employees and carries over into client campaigns.
Marketing agencies must take action to survive and thrive in the new ecosystem. They have to make difficult choices to break from traditional agency-centric pricing models, invest in technology, recruit and retain hybrid professionals, build scalable infrastructures, and transform their services. They have to be willing to make mistakes. They have to embrace failure.
It’s Not Too Late . . .
I have watched some incredibly talented traditional firms fade or disappear in the last decade because they continued to do what was familiar.
While revenues fell, and their staffs slowly churned, they would just put their heads down and keep grinding. Rather than getting to the root of the problem—a broken model—they would raise billable-hour rates, form a few strategic partnerships, and reach out to the same tired networks on which they built their firms.
Leaders of these firms must acknowledge that something is wrong, be willing to fix what is broken, and return to the ideas and inspirations that made them great. They have to think and act more like start-ups. They have to become disruptors themselves. How?
- Experiment with services and pricing: Although traditional firms may hesitate to make major overhauls to their services and pricing, they can start to progress through testing in niches or with select prospects.
- Trust your instinct: Research and analyze your options, but only to refute what you already know to be the best choice. This can become challenging in larger agencies, but the most effective CEOs are adept at building consensus and support for their visions, no matter how unconventional they may be.
- Deconstruct your brand: Be willing to reimagine your business model to remain relevant, and position yourself where the market is going. History means nothing if you have no future.
- Maintain a sense of controlled urgency: Something or someone will eventually come along to disrupt your agency. It might as well be you.
- Look beyond tradition: Following tradition and conventional wisdom is easy. And boring. Take risks, be bold, and dare to fail.
Wieden+Kennedy’s Portland Incubator Experiment (P.I.E) gives young entrepreneurs $18,000, office space for three months, and mentorship from brands like Target, Google, Nike, and Coca-Cola.
Renny Gleeson, global director of interactive strategies at Wieden+Kennedy, says we need to learn from these “disrupters.” Here he summarizes the No. 1 lesson he’s learned from watching these companies launch.
Here is the full interview where Renny talks about the surprises he’s encountered working with young start-ups.
0:30 – The Portland Incubator Experiment: Learning from disrupters
1:00 – Surprise No. 1: Differing opinions about innovation
1:45 – Surprise No. 2: Differing lifecycles
2:40 – How to fail
3:20 – Embracing and tracking fails
Run time is 4:04
P.I.E. is an ongoing experimental collaboration between Wieden+Kennedy and tech entrepreneurs. Based out of their Portland office, P.I.E.’s mission is threefold: innovate business models and create tech-fueled cultural disruptions, build platforms rather than one-off’s, and act as a tech-entrepreneur accelerator and social hub.
P.I.E.’s members are leaders in tech: engineers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, geeks, makers and do-ers. While a percentage of projects are geared towards W+K clients, it’s core spirit is entrepreneurial and it has incubated everything from audio indexing/parsing technology to a niche meat product fulfillment site (aka online bacon superstore).
Renny Gleeson is W+K’s global director of interactive strategies. He shapes the vision the company provides clients to navigate the perils and promises of the brave new digital world, including embracing the newfound power consumers have to opt in or out of a relationship with a brand.
Everybody tosses around the word “innovation” these days, but it’s hard to nail down what it means, and even harder to bake into the culture of big companies since, generally speaking, big companies like to double down on what they know already works, rather than try something scary and new that isn’t proven.
Then there are different sorts and sizes of innovation: operational innovation, where you do what you already do better; departmental innovation, where one part of the company does something nifty and new — and a lot of marketing innovation happens only within the marketing department and doesn’t touch anybody else; and then there’s cross functional innovation, where stakeholders come from different departments, and where partners like agencies, media companies, and technology companies might have a stake.
At next month’s ad:tech New York, we’ll enjoy a keynote address about brands and innovation given by Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola’s senior VP, integrated marketing communications and capabilities, who will be joined by Renny Gleeson, Wieden + Kennedy’s global director of interactive strategies and the co-founder of PIE (The Portland Incubator Experiment).
Brad Berens: What is your working definition of innovation? Did I miss something big in the three sorts I laid out? What are your goals for innovation within Coca-Cola, both in the marketing department and on a wider basis?
Wendy Clark: The Coca-Cola Company has a one-page document that represents our ambition for our company and system called our 2020 Vision. Written clearly as a mandate for the marketers of the company, that document is our remit “to develop the world’s most innovative and effective marketing.” That’s easy to say and harder to do. In a system so scaled (we’re in more than 200 countries), innovation can take the form of margin-dilutive complexity if we’re not careful. So we have to be focused.
We start thinking about innovation for our business in terms of our products, our packaging, our equipment, and our consumer engagement. For consumer engagement, we’re really looking at consumer trends, and how we’ll continue to recruit future generations of teens into loving our brands.
What has much of our attention right now is mobile. Mobile is impacting our total business — certainly consumer engagement, but it’s not limited to that. Mobile commerce (m-wallet) and mobile vault will have profoundly positive impacts on our business.
Teressa Iezzi, former Editor of Creativity, is now working for Fast Company. Her latest piece for the newsstand pub, is a feature on Portland Incubator Experiment, or PIE, a partnership among leading brands, technology innovators, and Wieden+Kennedy.
Wieden Portland just announced the winners of its PIE startup contest–nine companies ranging from a finance-focused cloud management platform to what’s being dubbed an “Airbnb for pets.” The startups will receive $18,000 in capital, a place to work, and access to Wieden’s leadership and the Portland tech scene’s best minds. But, perhaps more significantly, the budding companies will get access to a posse of high level brand players from Target, Coca-Cola, and Google–execs who represent not just marketing communications, but IT, retail, innovation, design, and other disciplines at those companies.
The initiative is designed to back startups that have something to offer brands and to bring the tech development mind-set into agency and brand culture. It’s also a smooth client relationship move from Wieden, positioning the agency as a collaborative partner that can bring tech innovation beyond digital ad campaigns.
According to Renny Gleeson, W+K’s global director of interactive strategies (and co-founder of PIE along with Rick Turoczy), the agency isn’t looking to own new products or companies–it’s going to school on the startup process in effort to move the agency away from a “manufacturing model” to a “more iterative software model.”
“If you really boil it down, we think folks who collaborate best are the ones who win, whether you call them an agency, a technologist, a brand. No one is going to be smart enough to do everything by themselves; things are changing too fast. From our standpoint, laying the groundwork for new ways to collaborate is incredibly important,” argues Gleeson.
Urban Airship and Bank Simple are two of the success stories coming out of PIE’s first round of funding. This new round of startups include Adyapper, Athletepath, Cloudability; DailyPath, MoPix, Revisu, Spotsi, Stayhound and VendScreen.
While W+K goes to school on their process, I for one, wouldn’t mind assisting these entrepreneurs with their brand identities, messaging strategies, social media activation and content development. But whoever ends up working with these future clients, this is good news for Portland, the people served by these new companies and yes, it is also good for W+K and their partners. How good remains to be seen, but I have faith that we’ll soon see Coca-Cola or Levi’s or P&G or Target or Dodge teaming up with one or more of these companies under W+K’s roof.