In today’s fast paced, attention seeking, disruptive yet wholly engaged world, as marketers and consumers navigate their way through, it appears that the old adage stands true: in order to create great work, you need the perfect alchemy.
The perfect balance of the right client, right agency, right timing, right project and right budget, all overlaid with some team chemistry and a touch of magic, should arguably ensure the creation of a much-lauded and commercially successful campaign.
Whilst I whole-heartedly agree with this statement, it hides the current pressures that we, as the industry of ‘live’ marketing, now face. Each element of this idealized scenario is being challenged in today’s ‘new world order’:
Clients’ outlooks vary wildly. The ideal client is brave, consistent and honest. Someone who values equality and partnership. Someone who can operate at speed, unencumbered by uncertainty and procrastination. Of course these clients exist. And it’s reassuring to remember that most clients want to create great work. But in an uncertain economic climate, it’s easy for their ultimate goals to be blurred by the demands of procurement.
There’s much debate in our industry about agency structure. But I think it should be less about structure and more about how agencies pool specialist skills and expertise to create unique campaigns. I’m putting my neck on the line here, but I’m guessing most of us have lost pitches due to pricing. This underlines the importance of an agency’s value add and culture. Are clients comparing like with like? Do they see or even know about the value add? Do they fully appreciate what agency culture, attitude and commercials can bring to the table? It’s up to use to educate in this respect.
Perhaps it’s the unintended consequence of technological advance, but pretty much every sector now has to face-up to increased expectations. All businesses are now expected to be more efficient in their outputs. In a creative sector, that means less time for crafting and honing ideas. To address this conundrum, we need to be more agile in our models and more elastic in our executions. Fortunately, greater agility can create a real competitive advantage, with nimble agencies and brands quickly and efficiently captialising on time-sensitive tactical opportunities, whilst maintaining a consistent tone of voice.
How can we ensure our clients engage the right agency for the right project? In such a competitive and diverging agency landscape, too many times we are seeing activities fall down due to inexperience, over-promising and under-delivering. Clients need to be able to identify the agency that’s best suited to their needs… and we must help them by being straightforward and transparent.
Budgets are now expected to accommodate all the relevant consumer touchpoints. The key to securing the right budget is to ensure there’s a mutual respect between agency and client, and a thorough appreciation of how the two partners work together. Under greater scrutiny than ever, it’s imperative that budgets are utterly transparent.
This is the intangible element that’s almost impossible to put into words. But we all know it when we see, feel and experience it. Every agency should be aiming for magic, every time they deliver.
By having a flexible structure and being dynamic, responsive and efficient, we can champion the new and exciting evolutions that are being born in the discipline of live marketing. In this ‘new world order’, it’s us experienced but project-based and agile operators that are uniquely placed to seize these new opportunities. In doing so, we will achieve our ultimate goal: helping brands to succeed time and time again. And the end result for the live marketing sector? We will be rewarded with long-term growth, progressive credentials and commercial recognition.