If a marketer has been around for the past 20 years, they’ll have witnessed it all - the rise of technology, the power of social media, the pivot to purpose over profit, and more. But in an era of ever-evolving trends, there are a couple of constants, one being the desire to innovate and evolve with time. More than ever, marketers are questioning if it’s time to evolve the existing agency model, to bolster efficiency and growth. In a recent survey with 700 global CMOs from Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US, we discussed how their businesses and brands are set up to deliver creativity in communications, including their preferences for how they work with agency partners.
The results of the survey revealed that in a connected world, new sweet spots are emerging for businesses at the intersection of brand, experience, and culture; with new opportunities to connect with modern customers in the spaces and places that matter the most. But how are agencies evolving to meet these new demands? We explore the results of the survey below.
Radical collaboration: ease of one, the power of many
Marketers may have previously relied on the traditional, siloed agency model, but it’s no longer the preferred norm. 67% of CMOs agreed that a siloed agency model is no longer a good fit for their needs, with many requiring increasingly simple solutions to complex marketing challenges.
With opportunities arriving thick and fast, CMOs don’t have time for silos or boundaries. CMOs believe that the perfect team for today’s fast-changing and volatile world does not exist; and that the businesses and brands that can connect the right talent in the right moment will thrive.
Access to diverse and brilliant minds
Around 85% of marketers said that they valued the diversity of thought that comes from partnering with multiple agencies, calling out the flexibility and agility of a local partner. It becomes the network’s challenge to find intelligent ways to balance global and local, with 86% of marketers agreeing that they want their agencies to connect the talent wherever it sits (inside the network or beyond).
Networks delivering scale
In a world of global brands and intelligent automation, scale is no longer about the number of points an agency has on a map, but it’s the ability to use data and technology to deliver impact and consistency in the most efficient way possible. 83% CMOs are of the opinion that companies that operate in networks with agency partners, have an added advantage over boutique agencies. They want network agencies to combine their capabilities to deliver innovative solutions.
With a collaborative and integrated approach, a network agency system can be a strategic model for many business requirements. It can facilitate access to great talent and teams all under one umbrella.
85% of CMOs view their agency as an extension of their marketing team. An agency that is aligned to a brand’s vision and understands their requirements is a valuable asset and by working as a strategic partner and staying one-step ahead of the curve, agencies can better identify and deliver what the brand’s customers need.
Access to local and global insights
In a world of connected talent and agile teaming, one size doesn’t have to fit all. Modern agencies will connect centres of excellence and centres of delivery, leveraging shared systems and platforms but without sacrificing local flair, originality, and character.
It goes without saying that when a brand plans to launch a product in a new country, understanding the country’s culture and people is critical. Insights from a local agency partner can be a game changer. 82% marketers say their local creative agency provides them with the cultural and social insights they need; and 83% even agree that local creative agencies provide the agility to build timely creative work. By connecting with a local agency within their network, the brand can offer hyper-personalised and hyper-localised creative to the customers across the world.
Brand X performance: the best of both
When it comes to brand and performance, we see some extraordinary data in the CMO Survey. 77% agreed that we need to recommit to brand, with 35% agreeing ‘strongly’. 75% agreed that we need to double down on performance, with 33% agreeing ‘strongly’.
This illustrates that marketers are no longer prepared to settle for brand or performance, or global or local efficiency or expertise, they want the best of both. We see this in the kinds of work they believe will have the most impact, their call for more collaboration in their own business, and in the relationship they want with their agency partnerships.
How brands can make waves
Successfully navigating new demands requires that agencies adopt a fluid approach to talent and expertise, enabled by technology, incentivised by the right financial models, and most importantly by a spirit of radical collaboration, generosity, and curiosity.
Find out more about how CMOs plan to deliver just that in the 2023 CMO Report - Creativity at A Crossroad, here.