Chances are, you’ve heard me talk about how creative driven firms, such as ad agencies, MarCom companies, many digital marketing firms, are at risk. The marketing world is evolving quickly and these creatively driven agencies are on thin ice because of it.
Right now, we’re able to track and measure almost everything. This means that if you don’t have numbers that support your decisions or prove your successes, you could be left behind. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is that big management consulting firms are moving into the space.
In the latest Ad Age Agency Report, four consultancies rank among the world’s biggest agency companies:
#7 PwC Digital
#8 IBM iX
Why does this continue to happen?
Clients want productivity and results.
They are no longer willing to accept the mystification of “branding” and “advertising” that was pervasive from the Mad Men era through the turn of the century. Large consulting firms realized that they can pick up the Marketing part—the Marketing Intel or Research, the segmentation, the marketing solutions—with some existing team resources and by buying marketing firms.
You’ve heard me say it for the past decade: It’s not about the creative, it’s about solving clients’ problems. Yes, that still means inciting emotion through creative messaging. But it also means having a business-minded approach that first focuses on clearly defining and drilling down the client’s target markets. Then finding out what they want, think and feel through Marketing Intel. Listening to what they tell you and then developing solutions for clients so they can give those target audiences what they want, when and where they want it at a price they’re willing to pay. Then you can creatively tell those target audiences the story again and again.
We’ve moved into a No BS Marketing area and there are no signs of going back to Don Draper style advertising.
What does that mean for you?
If you’re working in this space, build your marketing solutions skills.
If you’re a client, ask your strategic partner what drives them the most. If they start talking about amazing creative or storytelling without mentioning how that storytelling is built around real marketing, run. You can do better.