Illustration by David Lemke, CMD
Guest Post by Kevin Murphy, CMD’s Director of Digital Strategy
Flying cars, jet packs, ads that sense your mood, universal translators that work, virtual account managers . . .
Unfortunately, Jules Verne didn’t write about the agency of the future, but many Verne-like concepts that were marketing science fiction a few years ago are just around the corner.
Tomorrow’s brands won’t care about demographics, impressions or reach. They’ll care about behavior, and affinity. Content, offers and messages will be defined on the fly, based on things like audience behavior and personal context. Marketing and customer experience will become inseparable, with customer advocacy as important as lead generation. Already, we are seeing marketing triage centers that enable creative to react to opportunities within minutes.
Last month, the Harvard Business Review Blog Network posted an article outlining what marketing agencies will do differently in the future. In the article, the author asks, “So, now what? How do agencies ensure their future by being able to help brands sell more and build stronger loyalty in such a disrupted and disintermediated world, where every individual is consuming so much media from so many different channels?”
To answer the how in the above question, the agency of the future will not only care about behavior, but also about the environment the content is consumed in. It will measure impact and behavior in real time and adjust campaigns dynamically. The future agency will build tools and campaigns that are responsive to the context of the customer need and dynamically modify creative, offers and experiences. The barriers between social media, PR, advertising, out-of-home, and digital will vanish as campaigns focus on end-to-end integrated experiences.
Traditional competencies like storytelling, creative, strategy and messaging don’t go away. But instead of agencies being fully focused on pushing brand messages, they will selectively match brands to customers. With the growing amount of noise in a consumer’s day, agencies that can offer utility to customers—not just brands, will be the most successful.
How is CMD embracing this future?
We’re rethinking content . . . We’re developing content that’s designed to be useful and measuring its usage in real time. We understand that there is not a single path to purchase and that customers consume information from many sources. Our goal is to deliver content that resonates wherever the customer is in their decision making, from evaluation to advocacy. We know that content with value gets shared. We’re designing contextual experiences with responsive design. Our goal is to increasingly deliver tailored content and experience based on the optimal moment of need and impact.
The barriers between marketing functions are falling. The consumer experience is seamless, and that drives seamless integration on our end. We tell stories across channels that can stand on their own, or be stitched together to form a master narrative that follow the customer from corporate website to Facebook, to Instagram, to TV.
We measure everything. CMD continues to grow its investment in analytics and data visualization. Great reporting is a huge value-add, and also enables our teams to see results in real time (or close to it) and adjust campaigns on the fly.
We might not drive flying cars to meetings. Only a few members of our account staff have started growing tentacles—they help with multi-tasking. And, despite the lack of jetpacks around the agency, the age of behavior-driven marketing is here. We’re happy about it.