Ten in­dus­try trends from the ADFORUM World­wide Sum­mit

ArabAd - - TRENDS -

Twice a year, Adforum in­vites agen­cies CEOS and lead­er­ship teams in pri­vate meet­ings to share their vi­sion, strate­gies, agency news and key cor­po­rate mes­sages, to ar­tic­u­late "the view from the top" to the world’s lead­ing agency search and man­age­ment con­sul­tants drawn from around the world. The most re­cent gath­er­ing, an in­vi­ta­tion-only Adforum World­wide Sum­mit, took place in New York from Oc­to­ber 5-9. It brought to­gether 30 agency search con­sul­tants with 23 agency CEOS and lead­er­ship teams from all dis­ci­plines. Here’s a sum­mary of the trends that emerged when they got talk­ing.

Ma­tu­rity and Nor­mal­i­sa­tion

Cre­ative agen­cies have di­gested the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion. Once seen as out of step, they have re­con­fig­ured, re-emerged and re­gained con­trol. Iron­i­cally, given the pri­macy of con­tent, many dig­i­tal agen­cies have now strayed onto the ter­ri­tory of the cre­ative net­works. The re­main­ing dig­i­tal agen­cies are be­com­ing more spe­cialised than ever.

From Si­los to Spe­cial­ism

But the in­te­grated model won’t look like it did be­fore: agen­cies have de­vel­oped new struc­tures in or­der to stay “ag­ile and nim­ble”. What­ever the buzz­word, it comes down to making sure teams are multi-dis­ci­plinary, re­ac­tive and flex­i­ble.

From Big Data to Smart Data

As data con­tin­ues to trans­form the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing in the area of per­for­mance ac­count­abil­ity, there is a shift from data min­ing to­wards data in­ter­pre­ta­tion that leads to ac­tion. Data and ideas should work in tan­dem. Real-time mar­ket­ing is on the in­crease and smart met­rics are seen as a driver of ef­fi­ciency.

Prod­uct in­no­va­tion

Many agen­cies at the Sum­mit re­ferred to their in­volve­ment in de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts (“DO” in­stead of “TELL”). They are adopt­ing a prod­uct-first ap­proach to the cus­tomer, as the prod­uct and the re­lated ex­pe­ri­ence are more im­por­tant than the ad­ver­tis­ing. De­sign a good prod­uct, then work on build­ing the re­la­tion­ship.

It­er­a­tive and Real-time Mar­ket­ing

Thanks to smart use of data, cam­paigns can “learn” in real time and adapt to con­sumer re­sponses as if they’re liv­ing, breath­ing things. Mis­steps can be cor­rected and mes­sages sub­tly re­tuned.

Re-bundling Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Ser­vices

In­creased com­plex­ity is stim­u­lat­ing the in­te­gra­tion of agency ser­vices. Clients want sim­plic­ity and the ghost of “full ser­vice” is hov­er­ing. Both me­dia and pro­duc­tion are be­ing taken back in­side agen­cies as they adapt con­tent for so­cial in­te­gra­tion, ex­pe­ri­en­tial and en­hanced en­gage­ment. This could spell trou­ble for the me­dia agen­cies.

Tech­nol­ogy is Not an At­tribute

Dig­i­tal is now ev­ery­one’s fo­cus. In fact it’s the new nor­mal, so dig­i­tal agen­cies are find­ing it hard to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves. The game now is in the way you ap­ply the prin­ci­ples of dig­i­tal. Tech­nol­ogy isn’t ev­ery­thing – you need more.

It’s About Busi­ness, Not Just Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Agen­cies are head­ing back for the client board­room as they evolve into con­sul­tan­cies. As a re­sult, they are meet­ing a larger set of com­peti­tors. Nonethe­less, they see their goal as “solv­ing any busi­ness is­sue” – not just those that re­quire an ad­ver­tis­ing re­sponse.

The Re­turn of Emo­tion­ally-grounded Cre­ative

While in pre­vi­ous years agen­cies fought to prove their ef­fi­ciency through com­plex web tac­tics sup­ported by an avalanche of Views and Likes, we are wit­ness­ing the re­turn of sim­ple heart­break­ing sto­ries. This may re­flect a per­ceived need for brands to be “au­then­tic”.

Col­lab­o­rate, Don’t Brief

Real time mar­ket­ing and the new silo-free struc­ture leave lit­tle room for the con­ven­tional brief. In­stead, both client and agency are de­vel­op­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach to work pro­cesses. To­day’s mul­ti­plat­form en­vi­ron­ment re­quires an on-go­ing part­ner­ship rather than a cam­paign over a fixed pe­riod.

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