New Paths To Success: A Look At Marketing Services Industry Trends In 2017
The marketing services industry experienced a hugely tumultuous year in 2016 with margins at a record low and workloads increasing faster than revenue levels.
While this economic disruption shows little sign of slowing down, the differentiator for 2017 will be how well agencies develop new techniques and ways of working to cope – more specifically, techniques that provide greater value to the client and enables more transparent KPIs.
There are indications that budgets will be reduced in the year ahead – the latest IPA Bellwether Report predicts that ad spend in 2017 is set to decline by 0.7 per cent as business investment is pared back in line with the continuing uncertainty in global markets.
While disappointing, agencies should flip this on its head and use it to become more focused on brand relationships and pull down agency and industry silos to encourage integration across the board.
This in turn will respectively encourage a more experiential approach and provide operational clarity – both of which forward thinking agencies will need as they tackle the year ahead.
It will also be important for the marketing services industry to establish more accurate measurement tools for digital marketing in order to further validate the practice. Tracking tools have been developed but there is still concern over what ad impressions are reporting.
Rob Bassett, head of UK and EU multinational advertising at eBay, says: “Viewability is not always the most important aspect of an advertising campaign. The obsession with viewability has created a world in which volume of views eclipses other important factors such as relevance. In 2017, finding more intelligent ways of engaging with consumers will become as important as viewability. Specifically, targeting by mindset or mood rather than by demographic or outdated behavioural information.”
Another opportunity for agencies is the more from telling brand stories to becoming brand stories. There is a new wave of brands who want to be known for what they represent firstly, then their services or products second.
According to Vanella Jackson, global CEO of Hall & Partners, they want to create transformative strategies for their brands and that means being better attuned to cultural values. “Culture is the buzzword at the moment but this is about more than trying to understand and reflect people’s different cultures. Agencies now want to become those cultures, so they can be more relevant and meaningful.”
The agency who can boast success by reinforcing the relationship between agency, brand and customer also has the best chance at attracting the top talent. This is particularly relevant when recruiting millennial talent as they often have higher expectations of brands than just providing a product or service.
Want to know more about what's to come for agencies in 2017?
This is just a snippet of the challenges and opportunities facing agencies in 2017. For more information, download our 2017 Marketing Services Industry Snapshot.