23 October 2018

Campaigns not always the solution

With clients' needs growing ever more complex, short-term marketing campaigns longer cut the mustard, writes The Brand Agency's Matt Popkes.


Author: Matt Popkes


Whether they’ll tell you or not, clients are facing challenges well beyond anything you see in a brief. These are business challenges we, as an agency partner, witness early and often, yet we underestimate our ability to address and solve them. While we often have all the skills necessary to consult on and tackle business challenges, we miss the opportunity because of how narrowly we apply the skills within our own walls.


The themes are consistent across industries, markets and countries: fragmentation across teams, with little to no coordination in how to communicate with customers. Misalignment of tangible goals and objectives across business units. No means of actually tracking and measuring the true business impact of current marketing efforts.


Customer data spread across multiple disconnected systems, platforms and databases. Internal resources tasked so much with business-as-usual efforts, that long-term, strategic planning is not an option.


Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash


To be a truly effective, long-term partner, agencies need to be able to tackle, research and provide solutions for these types of complex business challenges that a marketing campaign will never solve. To get there, agencies need to start thinking beyond marketing as our only capability and campaigns as our only tool.


Whether related to data and systems, departmental disconnects, broken customer experiences, or measurement breakdowns, agencies need to be able to be able to recognise these issues, research their cause and offer lasting solutions. Fortunately, many agencies already have the ability and capacity to offer this type of strategic service. They just might not know it yet. This is especially true of agencies who consider themselves ’integrated’ or ’full-service’.


There are multiple skillsets and resources within an agency that can be applied in ways beyond how they’re traditionally utilised, in turn providing tremendous value to clients. These include the ability to research teams and communication dynamics, diagnose and understand breakdowns in systems and processes, unlock key learnings within sets of data and create streamlined, logical conclusions to complex issues.


Whether it’s in client management, strategy, media, creative or beyond, these abilities exist across agency teams, although they’re often only utilised to create a marketing campaign, driving short-term business goals. To progress, and offer long-term, strategic business solutions to clients, it’s just a matter of integrating and aligning these skills towards a different type of challenge.


It can be easy to get caught in the safety of routine, delivering on the brief and awaiting the next one. Those looking to progress in an increasingly competitive landscape, whether the line between consultancy and creative agency continues to blur, need to identify goals and challenges beyond what arrives in a brief.


Matt Popkes is head of digital strategy, The Brand Agency.