There’s no shortage of articles highlighting the challenges that digital marketing agencies face today. They’re getting squeezed by the major platforms like Google. They’re suffering layoffs as brands move in-house or change budget allocation, and they’re facing new threats from software players that replace some of their previous job functions.
We provide location-based marketing, analytics, and attribution to agencies, so we polled our customers to learn their take on the world. They shared with us their biggest challenges and best opportunities for the future.
The Worst of Times
Agencies have always faced a constant struggle to continually prove their worth and value. Any savvy agency acknowledges this and takes an honest look at what’s threatening their business. Here is what our customers said makes today’s advertising ecosystem a challenge for them.
“Clients taking digital and agency services in-house, whether that be programmatic advertising or full creative teams.”
This in part is driven by another challenge:
“New software tools are relatively simple and make it easier for a brand to go direct, instead of working through an agency.”
“Platforms are now pushing to go direct to brands, cutting out the agency role. Amazon is well-known for this.”
“In this day of digital, anyone can start an agency and claim to be an expert. These new firms are not fully vetted, and typically lack experience and adequate staff to deliver on their promises, while artificially driving down prices.”
“Major publishers are launching their own digital agency divisions, jumping into an already crowded marketplace”.
“Talent is always hard to attract and retain.”
The Best of Times
Despite these obstacles, our clients all led with optimism in their responses. They see a market that continues to grow and evolve, creating boundless opportunity for them to provide meaningful value to their clients.
“Most importantly, the economy is good and marketing budgets are healthy and growing.”
“The continued development of attribution and testing along with creative flexibility yields really great opportunities for data-backed creative…right and left brained stuff, which is really powerful and a joy to develop.”
“There’s a tremendous amount of channel platforms and apps we can use, making it possible to innovate around those new approaches and deliver new services.”
“There are so many new mediums to test with. These require new thinking, new design, and new strategy, which clients desperately need and lack the time to understand and execute themselves.”
“The abundance of new solutions means we can be creative in never before seen ways. Think augmented reality, virtual reality, smart home, streaming TV. The Burger King example where they geoconquested McDonald’s diners is a favorite.”
“There’s no shortage of new tools and targeting options, whether that be the surge in location-based marketing, more sophisticated email nurturing systems, or influencer marketing. We have the resources and expertise to build out these channels quickly and effectively for our clients.”
Fundamentals Always Win
The consistent theme underpinning all responses is that the fundamentals of great marketing will always work. Creativity, whether that comes from the agency or the brand, remains a requirement in order to capture attention and drive brand awareness. A great product at the right price can find its best audience with strategic innovation on new and existing platforms, with expert tactical execution to ensure the campaigns deliver. When these elements collide, great things happen, no matter what the challenges or external forces an agency faces.