When businesses in all sectors strive to connect with their target market and elevate their brand, they wisely build strategic partnerships with modern marketing agencies. However, just as technology is enabling marketing agencies to fulfil their promises and satisfy their clients, it is also re-shaping the marketing industry. According to music industry executive Lindsay Guion, the Founder, CEO and Global Chairman of GUION PARTNERS, and who has worked with multiple top-tier marketing agencies, here are three key ways that advanced technology is evolving the modern marketing agency:
1. Enabling Instant and Ongoing Customer Connections
In the past, marketing agencies gleaned the “voice of the customer” for their clients mainly through conventional methods like focus groups, interviews, customer segmentation research, product and usability testing, and so on. While those approaches are still part of the equation, today’s marketing agencies are leveraging technology tools like mobile apps and IoT-enabled devices to engage in ongoing, real-time communication with customers. Technological advancements allow agencies to generate vast amounts of rich data about what their customers think, and even more valuably, how they feel and why.
According to Lindsay Guion, marketing agencies are using this customer-focused data to develop targeted campaigns to engage groups, sub-groups and buyer personas, and in some cases create personalized messages for specific customers. All of this is unleashing a whole new level of relevance, which is the key to all marketing success. In other words, technology is helping marketing agencies deliver the right message, to the right customer in the right way, and at the right time. When all four of these boxes are ticked, marketing is transformed from a one-way monologue, into a multi-faceted conversation.
2. Unleashing Unprecedented Speed
For decades, marketing agencies were obligated to plan weeks in advance when crafting and distributing a press release and launching a direct mail campaign might take months of preparation. However, on today’s marketing landscape, technology has dramatically shortened the window for marketing agencies to identify and launch targeted messages.
It can take a matter of days for agile marketing agencies to jump on top of a positive news or messaging opportunity. This ability to pivot has also led to widespread newsjacking, which is when brands piggyback current events to generate viral visibility and can be remarkably effective.
3. Extending Reach into New and Non-Traditional Markets
Technology has also made is substantially more affordable and effective for marketing agencies to extend their reach into new and non-traditional markets, often relying on a network of formal and informal brand ambassadors and influencers to extend a message or campaign laterally.
For example, Apple’s most recent major product launch, which featured the new Apple credit card, was supported by a global marketing effort that targeted customers outside of Apple’s traditional consumer community who were interested in a payment card solution that was secure, transparent, simple and that helped them manage and control their spending and budgeting. Without technology tools and platforms, reaching these individuals — and potential future Apple fans — would take months and cost millions. Instead thousands of websites and blogs were telling Apple’s story within minutes of the announcement in Cupertino.
According to Lindsay Guion, it is not an overstatement to suggest that without modern martech tools, Apple would not be able to launch a product like the Apple credit card, because it would be too difficult, risky and costly to control the message and measure impact. In this sense, and quite amazingly, technology is not just driving the marketing of new solutions — it is enabling new solutions to exist in the first place.
According to Lindsay Guion, the rise of technology as a dominant factor in today’s leading marketing agencies is exciting, but it is also challenging. Traditionally, the data-driven and creative individuals worked separately. And while there was not an active aversion between the two talents, they tended to stay in their comfort zones. However, a policy of individualism is no longer viable. Technologists and creatives must work together — and respect what the other brings to the table — in order for marketing agencies to meet their clients’ rising expectations.
Ultimately, Lindsay Guion believes this shift does not mean that graphic designers need to become big data analysts’ experts, nor does it mean that number crunchers need to learn how to write advertising copy. But what it does mean, is that marketing agencies must take advantage of all available knowledge capital in their environment — which means less competition, and more mutual understanding and collaboration. Technologists and creatives need to realize that while they have substantially different tasks, they are on the same team and need to row in the same direction.