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PENNA: I recently attended a conference where the president of Razorfish spoke. He was really candid about the future. He said he read a report from Forrester where they had interviewed some of the top CMOs in the world, and basically their executive summary was that no current agency model is ready for the future. And he said, “Does that include digital?”
And they said, “Yeah.”
I said to our employees, “Actually that’s exciting news because it means we have to constantly be changing.”
KEMPEMA: The new problem is still the old problem, and that is “What works?” How many times has your client asked you, “What’s working? What’s not working?” So we set up a performance analytics practice. It’s designed to look at all the various textbook components and how they’re all adding up to contribute to brand, to brand equities, sales transactions, community advocacy, all those types of things. This gives us a holistic picture in terms of deciding if we have to dial up one lever or the other lever, how far and why. The most prevailing challenge for us is making sure that we continue to optimize our programs and to really deliver on the answer for the question, “What’s working?”
KNIGHT: One of the biggest challenges that we are facing is where marketing lives. Because historically marketing has lived in the awareness preference purchase phase. But in the business that I support, I have guys that knock on doors that are often the very first brand impression that anybody has about us. And so we have a lot more active sales influence now on what they wear, on what they say, on how they act, on what they carry, on how they follow up. Then we have our field service technicians, who are often the only face after the salesperson that they see about the company. And so again, we control how they look, how they act, what they say.
We’ve also gotten actively involved in the customer communication process, the retention process, the renewal process. And what we’re finding is marketing is the only department that touches the customer throughout their entire life cycle. And so I’m having to create a marketing department that looks very, very different than what’s historical or traditional because we’re having to touch all of those different channels.
ROBINSON: One of the trends that’s happening is mobile. Not that mobile is new, but at Mozy we sell to all consumer segments, all channels, and every one of those customers are demanding mobile now. In the old days, the way you would educate your channel, share information, you’d go to big trade shows, you’d have data sheets, you would fill up a bag and go home. Or you’d go to the website. Now they’re saying, “Give me a mobile app where I can go get your data sheets, your white papers, your sales trending and all that.”
DeNAUGHEL: What we’re seeing as an agency and how we’re positioning ourselves is we’re so much more than an ad agency. We’re involved with positioning our clients and helping them prepare for an IPO, we’re helping them staff up, we’re affecting legislation. There’s so much more to what we’re involved with. And I think that’s a huge opportunity for us.
THOMAS: We’re becoming a strategic partner at the table and being able to provide that service, whatever it is. And I think we become more strategic as we’re seeing that happening in that fashion.
DeNAUGHEL: We’re business partners, not just advertising partners.
BLACK: Video is another trend. Traditionally it’s been about getting the message out and hoping people will read a headline or maybe at least a couple of sentences. But it’s amazing that people will watch a two-or-three-minute video, but they won’t read two paragraphs of text. As marketers, we have to embrace that. Because with video you can cause the consumer to have an emotional experience with the brand, which will encourage them to spend. I think we all could do a better job of embracing video and using it more front and center on all of our digital presences.
Another trend that business owners should be somewhat scared of is that because of social media every employee is a marketer, whether you like that or not. Before you could control it, not anymore.
MELCHIOR: A new trend is social media compliance, especially in regulated industries. One of my business partners is also a lawyer, and we’re developing platforms and trainings associated with social media compliance because so many regulated industries are getting into trouble when an employee does just that. Somebody walks in the office and they type on Twitter, “So and so just came on in.” And then all of a sudden the stocks go down. So that’s a huge issue.