Internet Marketing Agencies of the Future
Finding an Online Marketing Agency for the Future
Look into our crystal ball to find the digital marketing agency of the future …
Marketing agencies of the future will be increasingly online, mobile and technologically savvy
Marketing agencies of the future will embrace the Internet and mobile like never before, in creative ways recently unimaginable.
To succeed and thrive, the marketing agencies of the future will require transparency and agility like never before, while they compete for clients both B2B and B2C.
Marketing strategies will integrate campaigns across Internet, mobile, broadcast radio and TV, cable, print, outdoor and more into unified campaigns where value (i.e. conversions) need be attributed across diverse disconnected channels.
Are you currently doing business with an a marketing agency able to position your businesses to capitalize on the emerging opportunities of the future?
The digital revolution, accelerated by the always on, always connected, location aware, mobile devices, has redefined marketing in fundamental ways. Targeting by interests as determined by context, location and/or behavior can be a powerful mechanisms to deliver a laser-focused message to a very receptive audience.
In addition, the business landscape has shifted dramatically with introduction of disruptive technologies.
- End customers buying processes are evolving with the customer more in control than ever before,
- Budgetary pressures and the need to demonstrate clear ROI (Return on Investment) drive marketing investments,
- High adoption of established social channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter require adaption to new, relevant channels, managed by resources with specialized skills,
- Rapid introduction of emerging social channels such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram. New social channels are constantly emerging, creating a significant ongoing investment in technology and training to keep up with the rapidly evolving social landscape,
- “Content marketing” and the mass proliferation of high quality content is raising the bar for marketers to create content that not only fills an unserviced or under-addressed need, but also stands out in a crowded web of quality content that is easy to find,
- Changes to the way that Google ranks websites, penalizing those marketers who produce and position content that Google views as manipulative and lacking value (has SEO become a dirty word?)
- Marketing automation technologies have evolved how some marketers, particularly B2B focused marketers, work and are de-emphasizing the need for classic email service providers and individual components products to manage and track each channel as they related to contacts/leads/customers,
- Lack of In-house skilled marketing resources necessary to execute will drive business to rely on agencies to provide a managed services,
- Customer ROI Focus where the agency of the future will be required to retain business based on results and valued delivered as opposed to relying on existing relationships and court-side seats being the primary reason for doing business or continuing to do business with a marketing agency.
Full service marketing agencies of the future will embrace technology and offer innovation, including digital and mobile. Only then will businesses realize the full promise of Internet as a marketing channel, with its inherent characteristic of providing near real-time data through reporting and analytics, which can then be used to continually test and optimize marketing campaigns while substantiating results and ROI.
The Marketing Agency of the Future … According to Marketo
According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, by far the greatest challenge facing B2B marketing agencies is downward pressure on clients’ marketing budget. Five years ago, this was far less of a problem. Now, the burning issue of the moment is that marketers need to produce and demonstrate ROI. The upside of this is that marketing becomes a value generating asset as opposed to being viewed as a necessary expense.
In the last five years, marketing automation technology has been adopted by a wide range of B2B companies of different sizes, across a variety of industries. These companies have implemented marketing automation solutions to support:
- Lead generation, nurturing and scoring to drive sales focus and increased revenue and ROI,
- Increase prospect engagement across a variety of online channels,
- Measure and track ROI, from initial discovery through closed sale.
It’s not only in-house marketers that need to keep pace with new technology innovations in online marketing, the agencies of the future will need to be capable of evaluating these technologies to add value for their clients and prospects. Agencies that ignore these advancements do so at their own peril while running the risk of becoming irrelevant.
Agencies of the Future Have a New Role
- Agencies must be digitally focused and demonstrate ROI,
- Responsible for helping customers portray a consistent brand presence across multiple diverse channels,
- Understand and embrace emerging and relevant technology to enable clients to capitalize on innovations when and where they add value
What Does the Roadmap Look Like?
B2B clients demand change, so therefore, the agency itself must change. But how can the agency realize the changes necessary to stay relevant?
- Many B2B marketers have implemented marketing automation technology. They are looking for external support to augment their in-house marketing efforts.
- Certain clients will select an agency that offers a managed service to support them, especially ones that don’t have to be paid to learn their business.
- Extraordinary content is the fuel of any marketing automation engine, especially in industries rich with existing, high-quality content.
- Content planning, creation and management are growth areas for agencies of the future. Those agencies that execute this well will gain significant market share in competitive markets.
- New sets of recruiting skills supporting virtual, multilingual teams physically located in different cities and possibly different countries.
- Technology, data reporting and analysis skills will be required to compliment creative and communication skills more common in the traditional agencies.
The Agency of the Future focused primarily on B2B clients will invest in marketing automation technology to drive efficiencies and ROI for their clients. The agencies who win will understand the client’s most pressing business challenges and introduce innovative solutions that solve to the clients problems using insights that the client would not likely have come up with on their own.
Questions that should be asked of agencies used to deploy marketing automation technology include:
- What do you offer in terms of solution implementation, training, reporting and ongoing support. What are your standard support hours and what kind of response times can we expect? Does your agency provide support or refer calls to the marketing automation technology provider.
- What package and best practice guidance is integrated into the solution your are proposing?
- How broad is your partner ecosystem? Is there an active marketplace of complimenting products that are pre-integrated with the solution proposed? Is there a robust services marketplace to support the marketing automation technology?
- How frequently is your software updated? What influence do clients have on the product roadmap? Is there a formal process for clients to submit feature requests?
- Can social media campaigns be integrated into the solution? Does this include tracking engagement from initial interaction through to closed sale?
- What innovations are on the existing product roadmap? How early before a release is the product roadmap published to clients?
What to Expect
In the future, you can expect inbound marketing to become a competitive differentiator for B2B companies that adopt it and generate the kind of valuable content necessary to enable interested prospects to discover the products and services they seek. Specially, expect that in the future,
- Technology will have a greater impact on marketing and the activities and goals they support
- Agencies will have to incorporate marketing automation fueled by extraordinary content while providing the reporting and analytics to enable measurement of ROI
- Many marketers will enlist the assistance of agencies to help them evolve their marketing programs. Agencies that embrace marketing automation now will be best positioned as the winning marketing agencies of the future, best equipped to service the marketing needs of their B2B clients.
There is Much Yet to be Done
In a report conducted by B2B Marketing, studies show that only 20% of marketers efficiently design, measure, and execute optimized programs across multiple channels. While 43% have a strategy, it requires a lot of manual efforts. A startling 13% only produce random acts of marketing with little strategy.
What is your business doing to ensure it’s positioned for success in the evolving market of the future?