I know, my headline is a mished-mashed mess. Just trying to call 'em as I see 'em.
Now, what am I actually talking about? I'm talking about Lonelybrand's oh-so-interesting report, Agency Growth Blueprint 2012. The company is a "digital marketing team" aiming to deliver a gamut of digital solutions to ad and PR agencies as well as B2B and B2C brands. They're just the guys to analyze and access the business development practices of marketing firms, and that's precisely what they've done.
And what did they learn by picking the analog brains of 300 advertising and PR execs exploring marketing's digital domain? Well, my take on their 10-pages of black and white insights and statistics is everything's turned a blurry shade of gray. That is, the lines between what ad, PR and customer support professionals bring to the playing field have become murky. In a binary world, it's a frustrating reality. Who's the one? Who's the zero? When you get a .5 do you round up or down?
Do you even care?
The survey says you do. As a client of various types of marketing agencies, you not only expect a clear explanation of the services you'll be paying for, you also expect your Internet-based efforts to map directly to figures, dollars, and arrows that point up. Yeah, I mean ROI. (I swore to layoff off that tired term.) Can these types of firms provide it? Can they prove the plus sign in "Google+" adds anything? Can they tell you how much business you book on Facebook? Will a little Tweetie bird lay golden eggs? I don't know, but I understand why you'd like to.
What's an agency to do?
They're trying to get a grip of some sort on social media marketing, search and all the same slippery stuff you, me and everyone else is. Tough stuff. Abstract stuff. The ambitious agencies really want to differentiate themselves with their command of new media. So, though the road looks steep ahead, they're gearing up for the climb. Snagging the big prize calls for making the way up magnificent Mount Digital. According to Lonelybrand's research, a small percentage of the ad agencies admit it's difficult the keep up with the tools and trends. The study adds, agencies who feel good about their digital prowess find less resistance on the new business front. In fact, many believe the service overlap taking place helps their cause. Prospects generally want to focus on what the suitor has to say on the subject of Internet marketing. Their data also reflects the business developers in ad and PR agencies that put digital to work in their new business programs effectively reduce time to close.
Here's the plan.
A really interesting aspect of the "blueprint" delves into the digital programs the agencies now use for business development. Six leading contenders landed in this order, highest to lowest:
- Digital content
- Social engagement
Social's last? Yup. The study indicated relatively few are active there. So they say, "There may be an opportunity in 2012 for advertising and public relations agencies to focus on building content driven social engagement programs as a point of differentiation."
It's a solid study and if you're in the "Customer Advertising Relations Digital Marketing" business, you best download it and dive in. Let's spell clout with a "c" and conclude by saying more digital clout means more cred and more the more you commit to getting your digital game on, the more likely you'll see your digits grow.
What say you?