The key take­aways from this study re­ally brought some of the com­mon lunch and cof­fee con­ver­sa­tions around the in­dus­try to life. What’s per­haps most in­ter­est­ing is to see that the big is­sues aren’t iso­lated to a few mar­keters or agen­cies, with many of the

New Zealand Marketing - - Insight Creative - vernene@tan­gi­ble­me­dia.co.nz.


Per­haps as a di­rect re­sult of the lack of clear strate­gic think­ing, mar­keters were also crit­i­cised for not be­ing able to clearly out­line their ob­jec­tives in briefs. Briefs were de­scribed as of­ten be­ing in­com­plete, un­clear or far too am­bi­tious for the avail­able bud­get— all of which con­trib­utes to the agency lack­ing suf­fi­cient di­rec­tion to de­velop work that meets the ex­pec­ta­tions of the client.


The con­trib­u­tors didn’t agree on ev­ery­thing, but one area where they were uni­fied was when it came to pitch­ing. Ap­palling, shock­ing, la­bo­ri­ous, un­pro­fes­sional, un­fair and time-wast­ing were just some of the de­scrip­tions used to de­scribe the process. The gen­eral con­sen­sus was that some­thing has to give. “It’s a shocker,” said one agency head. “Imag­ine go­ing to five ar­chi­tects to de­sign you a house, pay them noth­ing, pick the one you like and take the bits of the pre­sen­ta­tion from the oth­ers you liked. It must change!” Strate­gic think­ing served as one of the ma­jor themes when we pre­vi­ously ran the ‘Agency Per­cep­tions’ study and the is­sue again emerged in this study. Var­i­ous agency heads said that mar­keters of­ten lack long- term vi­sion of what a brand could be­come. This is­sue fos­ters short- term tac­ti­cal re­sponses in lieu of the big- pic­ture think­ing nec­es­sary to cre­ate well- es­tab­lished brands.


As dig­i­tal plays an in­creas­ingly sig­nif­i­cant role in the comms mix, the skills short­com­ings in this space be­come more ap­par­ent. “Most client dig­i­tal teams are a mess,” said one agency head, ex­plain­ing that the mar­keters they work with are strug­gling to keep up with the rapid ad­vances in the in­dus­try. There was a broad call for mar­keters to up­skill in dig­i­tal, data and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence if they are to de­velop mar­ket­ing strate­gies that truly meet the needs of mod­ern con­sumers.


Hav­ing a num­ber of spe­cial­ist part­ners is the re­al­ity. While some are op­posed to this, oth­ers be­lieve it can work if clear own­er­ship and roles are laid out by the client. But as one agency head pointed out, the polyg­a­mous approach places a greater onus on the mar­keter’s strate­gic nous: “[ Suc­cess] de­pends on the mar­keter’s abil­ity to pull th­ese dif­fer­ent part­ners to­gether and if they are do­ing it for the right rea­sons. I have seen it fail spec­tac­u­larly, I am not sure I have ever seen it suc­ceed spec­tac­u­larly. I would ar­gue most mar­ket­ing de­part­ments would have to change their struc­ture first to get any con­sis­tency from the dif­fer­ent part­ners with re­gard to qual­ity and true in­te­gra­tion.”


One com­mon crit­i­cism lev­elled at mar­keters was that they were of­ten fear­ful when it came to cam­paigns and ex­e­cu­tions. This, ac­cord­ing to the re­spon­dents, had a ma­jor im­pact on the lev­els of creativ­ity and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion we see in the in­dus­try. Mar­keters are seen to be tak­ing the safe route far too of­ten.


Crit­i­cism of tra­di­tional prac­tices did not fo­cus on me­dia chan­nels, but in­stead on the cor­po­rate struc­ture within clients’ busi­nesses. Le­gacy sys­tems com­bined with old­fash­ioned lead­er­ship styles were seen as cre­at­ing an in­flex­i­ble cor­po­rate cul­ture that makes it dif­fi­cult to de­liver ef­fec­tive work.

The brand per­cep­tions study was con­ducted by Tan­gi­ble Me­dia and TRA and was com­pleted by 40 agency ex­ec­u­tives. While that might seem like a small num­ber, they have some of the most in­formed opin­ions when it comes to work­ing along­side mar­keters. So we think their views of­fer an im­por­tant in­sight into the mood of mar­ket­ing and the role of agen­cies.

The pre­vi­ous pages show­case some of the high­lights of our mar­keter per­cep­tions re­search. But there’s more in­for­ma­tion about the strengths and weak­nesses of spe­cific brands avail­able. So if you’re a mar­keter that wants to know more about how your brand is per­ceived by the ex­ec­u­tives we sur­veyed, con­tact com­mer­cial man­ager Vernene Med­calf to buy the full re­port.

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