The Marketing Agency of the Future: A Perspective from Andy Parnell

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We recently sat down with Andy Parnell, President of Lane Terralever and Convince and Convert, an Arizona-based agency that works across a wide range of multi-location (MULO) clients in both the B-to-B and DTC worlds.

With broad and deep experience, Andy has seen many changes in the marketing and agency world. He offers great insights into the evolution of agencies, their current challenges, and why data and customer experience will ultimately win the day.

What is the primary focus of your agency these days?

Our integrated agency focuses on the entire customer experience for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. Understanding who your customers are and what they’re looking for is more important than ever.

How have you seen client priorities evolve over the years?

More data is available than ever before, and businesses are looking at how to use it to deliver what buyers really need and want and how to meet their needs. And although AI is evolving and we certainly utilize it, it’s not the end-all and be-all and still needs “human intervention” to realize its true potential.

What do you see as the next big trend for multi-location brands? 

As I referenced above, companies need to understand their data. The more locations you have, the more data you can leverage and the more personalized you can become with your strategies and tactics.

Media spend has been shifted significantly to digital, but a balance needs to exist. Upper-funnel brand awareness is still really important. For example, smart spending in location-based outdoor may be valuable in a new market.

Brands need to “have flex” in their approaches, depending on their approach to individual markets.

The agency life can be tough. How do you keep your team motivated and creative?

Culture is important in any organization, but even more so in a creative company.

Leaders need to have their fingers on the pulse of their people.

We have a culture committee that measures satisfaction among our employees, as well as among our clients.

We were one of the first agencies with a DEIB committee and have monthly activities to understand and respond to issues. We aren’t just “checking the box.” We act on what we hear when we get feedback.

What do you see as the biggest mistakes that agencies make these days? Clients?

Agencies that don’t deliver on promises are shady and create problems for ALL marketing agencies.

When we’re brought in to “fix” other agencies’ issues or unfulfilled commitments, we often have to rebuild trust.

Clients need to be fully committed partners to get great results. Be honest with your data and business objectives. By engaging with the work that’s being done, clients will get better results.

One-size-fits-all can be a lazy approach for MULO brands. Hyper-local influencers and culturally or market-specific tactics need to be leveraged and modified by market. If you run a national campaign that needs to be executed at a local level, make sure your team is flexible and open to tapping into local expertise, particularly with earned media opportunities.

In Summary…

The agency, its leadership, and its clients have flourished over the years because they truly believe in CX and use data to solve human challenges. We look forward to hearing what the next moves for the agency will be in an increasingly complex MULO (multi-location) world.

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.