It is no secret that digital marketing is evolving and changing drastically year to year. The core purpose of a digital marketing agency is to help their clients increase revenue and profitability by using their expertise in the digital space, their insights on the latest trends and their connections to online partnerships.
In the coming years, it will be important to not only provide digital marketing strategies and services, but agencies will need to shift toward creative innovation, physical and digital integration, and product development. The top firms will be truly capable of designing and implementing real cross-channel customer experiences that engage them at all stages of the buying cycle consistently and across all devices.
Plan now for new technologies and build strategies around them to help guide creative direction for clients and build new customer experiences. Digital agencies will need to become more agile and have the ability to experiment in order to learn and grow. Innovation comes from trial and error and in order to achieve creative innovation there has to be an opportunity to try out new ideas and encourage creative brainstorming without the pressures of immediate ROI. There are some companies that have already built “innovation gatherings” that operate like a start-up company. These groups spend part of their day looking at what products they can create that will enhance the customer experience, testing these products in real time and gathering feedback directly from customers. This allows the innovation team to alter the product to meet the needs of the customers.
In order to allow for this type creative brainstorming to exist there would need to be a progressive change in the culture of an agency, updated fee structure and clear communication on the expectations. The fee structure may become performance based so there is less focus on billable hours. This will allow for more collaboration between departments and out of the box thinking and testing.
Physical & Digital Integration
Agencies need to integrate marketing across all channels and be effective in their ability to measure success. It will be essential to have a unified approach of connecting digital (website, blog, online ads, email, social, mobile) and physical marketing channels (off-line ads, PR, in-store signs, billboards) to create a seamless and consistent journey for the customer keeping them engaged through the entire buying process.
Many agencies understand the intersection of the physical and digital word, but few agencies can successfully navigate all possible customer touch points. Agencies will need to remove the silo effect of departmental communication in the current agency structure and work as one team, toward one common goal. The focus will be spent on creating a unified story across all channels. Agencies that excel at this will be more effective in delivery lasting results.
It will be important for agencies to develop ideas and products that will provide a solution for a customer problem and pinpoint the partners that can contribute expertise, connections and technology support. Teaming up with the right partners will help to bridge online marketing strategies with new technologies to create products that transform the user experience. The ability for an agency to provide a higher level of research and development and technical implementation will be the key to success.
Future-focused agencies will develop a road map for implementing digital strategies, providing solutions that allow customers to move seamlessly between online and in-store environments while also implementing innovative technologies that take the in-store customers online.
If you read about the new technology being tested and prototyped right now including the “Augmented Reality” ideas, you can see that the digital landscape will be drastically changing in the next couple of years. It will be the responsibility of agencies to keep up with the evolving technology offered and team up with the right partners to develop applications for this technology to stay at the forefront of agency offerings.
As technology grows and changes, so does the way we view media. This also means we will need to look at advanced metrics to analyze what platforms are outperforming others. It will be an interesting transition in the coming years with new technologies, partnerships and innovative thinkers. To stay ahead of the curve, digital marketing agencies must be future-focused and evolve as the industry does.