Friday, 10 March 2017

What Does the Future Hold for Agencies? 3 Leaders Weigh In

Do you remember what agencies looked like five years ago?

Whether you're new to agency life or a seasoned veteran in the industry, you know that the agency space is constantly changing. And as the business develops, so too do areas for innovation.

We asked three agency leaders to weigh in on how they see the industry evolving over the next five years. 

Drawing from their own personal experiences, they share their predictions below. Learn what they forsee as the biggest areas of disruption for your agency to capitalize on.

What Does the Future Hold for Agencies?

Like marketing teams, agencies are going to be more and more accountable to tying their efforts to business outcomes, such as revenue funnels or target account qualification metrics. Also like modern marketers, the best agencies will be able to work across all integrated sales and marketing channels, and do so from planning to execution to data analytics – to help customers solve their business and marketing challenges.

With the explosion of MarTech, marketers are taking on more and more responsibility for closed loop marketing data. The responsibility for data is shifting from IT to marketers, and this represents an opportunity for agencies to assist their customers in connecting and synchronizing data across their multitude of systems, to power the analytics and optimization needed to drive growth.

-- Zak Pines, VP of Marketing at Bedrock Data

The agency space must evolve where it's specialized and can adapt to the trend that most companies are looking to bring things in-house due to speed, costs, and their own closeness to the brand. As larger clients typically have the two top parts of their budget to paid media and content, agencies will evolve by specializing in producing more branded content on certain platforms (like Snapchat or VR) and/or find better ways to get paid media in front of customers.

The biggest area of disruption is finding ways to commercialize new technologies for VR/AR where small bootstrapped agencies can create experiences for small local businesses. Right now, VR/AR is a trending subject but not necessarily as easily adopted into a company's marketing plan.

-- Kenny Nguyen, CEO at Three Sixty Eight

With the increase in tracking, analytics, and customer acquisition attribution there is much more accountability around what is working and what is not with marketing and sales efforts. This accountability is slowly bringing these two departments (marketing and sales) closer together. Meaning there is going to be a movement of "lead generation" agencies that will move closer into the CRM implementation/usage space; basically they will move into Sales Enablement.

The real value for sales and marketing managers/VPs is going to be in decreasing lead response times, understanding sales qualified lead attribution, and knowing days to close reporting metrics. Agencies that are not helping contribute or provide increased insight will quickly be passed over for the firms that are providing this value.

The biggest area of disruption is tied closest to new revenue and new customer onboarding. Since the way people buy has changed so much with the increased accessibility of information, buyers' expectations and knowledge have grown significantly.

If companies do not heavily focus on aligning purchase expectations (i.e. what was promised or committed to the buyer by the sales person) with the customer success team, then the chance of a new customer having buyer's remorse and churning is very high.

Best way to make this alignment tangible is through helping the sales team accurately document and distribute information to the customer success team. Investing in 1) processes and structure around documented systems and 2) tools to automate these manual processes will help make it scalable.

-- Josh Harcus, Director of Channel at PandaDoc

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