28 Oct Finding an Agile and Scalable Alternative to the Big-Agency Marketing Model
Business success in a digital world means adjusting your marketing message on a moment’s notice, making the traditional big-agency approach increasingly obsolete. A 2018 survey by the CMO Club found that nearly half of the chief marketing officers surveyed still utilize the conventional AOR (agencies-of-record) model, while only 14 percent of those executives are satisfied with that approach. The CMOs find that the traditional model is “less agile and less adept at handling the demands of generating quality content for day-to-day social and digital platforms in an efficient and cost-effective way.”
The traditional marketing agency model creates a long-term relationship between agency and client built around a hefty retainer and marketing plans that stretch for months or even years. Marketers gain the expertise of their agency partners for calendared print or broadcast ad buys, market research, and other promotional efforts with long creative processes. The model generally delivers a select number of major campaigns each year directed to wide audiences, giving the client a broader, if not highly-targeted, reach. The retainer ensures both a steady revenue stream to the agency and a consistent monthly expense for the client.
From the client’s perspective, the AOR model no longer delivers ideal results. Businesses are discovering that the demands of producing content in today’s digital and social marketing environment require a heightened level of adaptability. “Marketers used to be able to rely on one agency partner, but because of the sheer pressure of the content brands need today, it’s very difficult for any single agency to deliver what you need, at the standard you need,” says Kelly Services CMO Pete Boland. The challenge is finding an agile marketing agency solution that delivers flexibility, affordability, and transparency to produce agile and scaleable content without adding cost.
Companies Need Flexibility
In a recent survey of professional marketers, only eight percent of the participants indicated they always implement agile marketing processes. That suggests that they’re not meeting the oft-changing needs of companies that don’t have room for rigid solutions or drawn-out planning processes. These needs can include a revolving door of marketing urgencies, including updating social media calendars, conducting SEO research, handling a PR crisis, or designing a new website.
The CMO Club survey indicates that 55 percent of the respondents felt that a lack of innovation and creativity was the biggest reason for their dissatisfaction with the traditional agency model. Thirty-five percent believe the capabilities of their marketing partners are too narrow to meet their needs.
As an outsourced, full-service marketing agency, Osmond Marketing has deftly partnered with a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate investment company with a variety of marketing needs. Serving a nation-wide audience of investors, we rapidly pivot from website design to content development to social media marketing and more. Through all these avenues and more, working closely with the VP of marketing, we have built long-term strategies to rebuild their branding, develop their C-suite into thought leaders, and strengthen their online reputation and recognition.
Companies need an innovative, creative marketing partner with the built-in flexibility to adapt to ever-changing business needs. That flexibility needs to include the agility to change strategy on a moment’s notice, and a pricing structure that makes it easy to adjust from week to week, month to month, without impacting a long-term contract.
Affordability Equals Adaptability
The Association of National Advertisers revealed cost efficiency was the single primary benefit of having an in-house agency. In an ANA study, 70 percent of participants said they had moved some of their work in house, with content marketing, social media, and influencer marketing at the top of the list.
Proving many internal marketing teams cannot produce all of their content, 90 percent of study participants state that they still outsource a portion of their marketing services. Therefore, the opportunity exists for a new agency approach—one that provides full service at the highest quality without a high-end pricing model. This approach provides access to experts across the full range of marketing services. With a flatter, adaptable organizational structure, the new agency solution provides the same level of AOR service at a price point that compliments an in-house agency.
One of our clients operates 250 skilled nursing facilities, and we do work for both the company as a whole and for the individual facilities. We partner with each facility’s in-house marketing director as an extension of their marketing team, determining together how we can best serve their unique needs. We may help a facility with post-discharge follow-up phone calls, social media, live chat, online review management, public relations, graphic design, or original content. With access to so many services, the facilities are able to get high-quality, personalized service without the price tag of an in-house team.
Maintaining Transparency Is Key
Nick Phelps, CEO of the digital creative agency RED, wrote about the transparency and accountability found in the new agency model in an AdWeek article. He said, “It can be argued that without an unwieldy retainer, the agency and brand client are focused on the real value of a specific project and away from ongoing pricing structures for long-term plans, which are out of date soon after the ink is dry.”
A short-term, project-based approach to marketing provides for quick changes of direction and a system that offers a results-oriented relationship. Time spent on a project is meticulously recorded, so the client knows exactly where their budgets are going. It’s all about that real value.
Our experience includes serving a company that manages over 40 separate apartment communities. In this role, we developed separate websites and graphics for each property. With a project of this proportion, clear and consistent reporting is critical. We produced detailed weekly reports and itemized invoices to keep the corporate office in tune with the progress and costs.
Osmond Marketing has developed a solutions-based approach that fixes what’s lacking in the big-agency model by providing the nimble effectiveness required in today’s digital world. It’s a partner that delivers top-tier service with the versatility and adaptability to rush in with short, quick bursts of energy to meet the immediate needs of today. With the promise of flexibility, affordability, and transparency, the new agency model can meet all of your dynamic marketing needs.