The trend toward brand in-housing of media operations has been a growing challenge for agencies for more than a decade now. As of this time last year, 91% of brands reported having moved at least a part of their digital marketing operations in-house. Many agencies have had to address the question: How do we stay relevant in an age of direct-to-consumer strategies and increasing automation of media execution?
As we enter the next era of audience intelligence, today’s agencies have a new opportunity to refine their value proposition to clients and reclaim their roles as strategic advisors, all by leveraging the same strengths and tools that once defined their roles as invaluable media partners. Let’s look at how agencies can help brands extend the promise of audience intelligence beyond optimizing their media plans.
One in four small businesses has temporarily shut down, and 43% believe they have fewer than six months until permanent closure is unavoidable. With the small business community in panic mode, budgets for digital marketing have been slashed, and agencies are feeling the pinch.
“Everyone has been in panic mode, and rightly so. Businesses are worried about who might have to be furloughed [or] laid off, getting their PPP loans, what kind of regulations do they need to comply with, [and] what their contingency plans are for keeping any amount of revenue coming in,” says Simon Schwartz, founder of Locasaur. “Businesses are not interested in being pitched new marketing tech.”
David: I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our product mix at ThriveHive recently. And in particular the segmentation of the various offerings of our newly combined GateHouse/Gannett company by customer budget.
It has surprised me, frankly, that so few agencies seem to go to market with the essential digital marketing bundle for local businesses you and I proposed exactly two years ago. In re-reading that article, I’d still give the same advice today and with even more urgency based on the rollout of Local Service Ads.
The number of big brands moving their marketing in-house is growing, but whether that decision actually leads to lower costs and faster turnaround times is still a hotly debated topic. Holly Robowski, associate director of paid media at Cardinal Marketing, offers a perspective contradicting the pro-in-house zeitgeist.