A recent AdAge article on the state of brand-agency relationships reveals that they are in a state of flux right now.
In the post, entitled One-Third Of Brands Are Considering Change of Agency in The Next Six Months, AdAge reports that a new industry survey reveals that “nearly one-third of U.S. brands may be contemplating switching up their ad agency in the next six months, while more than nine in 10 say chemistry is the most important factor in forging a new agency partnership.”
Of course, the brand-agency relationship is a fairly complex one.
Over the last 20 years of digital advertising, the industry has seen cycles where brands have desired to move more of their marketing investments to in-house teams and then reverse course to spreading more budgets to agencies.
As the country—and world—begin to open up again at different stages from the pandemic, brands are once again trying to figure out how the right way to proceed in what has become a digital-first, new normal of business.
Five Questions with Straight North’s David Duerr
Today, we chat with industry veteran David Duerr on the topic of brand-agency relationships. Serving as the CEO of the interactive marketing agency, Straight North. Duerr is an entrepreneur, business leader, and investor with a broad range of career experience in pharma, sales, IT, and more.
Straight North roots begin in 1997, at the beginning of online marketing. Over the years, the business has grown and morphed including multiple acquisitions that have helped to propel it to a leading independent US agency.
Today, Straight North provides a complete suite of Internet marketing and Web development services to B2B and B2C organizations of all sizes.
Why are so many brands reviewing agency partnerships right now?
In our opinion, there are a variety of factors that are contributing to this phenomenon.
A general increase in the awareness and effectiveness of Internet Marketing as a primary channel of brand communication, lead generation, and revenue generation is one reason. The constant change in the internet marketing landscape is another.
However, it is the pandemic that has fundamentally changed the way companies do business, and this has forced companies to re-think and re-evaluate almost everything they do. One of those key focal points is if existing agency partnerships are the right relationships to meet the growing demands of brands of the new normal in the post-pandemic, digital age.
In many cases, the past 18 months have been an existential threat to many industries and companies, but it has also unleashed a desire to re-imagine many of the core functions and ways of doing business that has become routine.
What’s one thing that can win a client and what’s one thing that can surely lose a client?
“Success has a thousand fathers, and failure is an orphan”. We find the first part of that adage to be true in almost all cases, and that winning a client starts with a foundation of trust and authenticity.
Agencies like Straight North are in the relationship business, and like any relationship they need attention. No agency is perfect, and no client should ever expect perfection, but every successful win starts with trust and is maintained with trust. Results will keep a client happy but a relationship built on trust is critical to supporting a long-term engagement.
When a client loses the connection with their agency, when they don’t feel important, when the client feels like a transactional party instead of a relationship partner, it is only a matter of time before they are gone.
How important is it for today’s ad agencies to have a strong technical foundation?
Internet marketing can’t work without a strong technical foundation.
The algorithms which govern success or failure of a company’s digital marketing efforts are built on a strong technical foundation—from proper website structure, UIUX, content, hosting, site speed, etc, The constant updates that released by the search engines demand rigorous attention to all aspects of a company’s website and digital marketing strategy. But if your site is not foundationally strong and consistently supported and maintained, your marketing efforts will underperform.
How can agencies grow their business through technology partnerships?
Technology partnerships allow agencies to scale more quickly with less reliance on increased manpower and long training. While new hiring remains important, it comes with expected lag time and learning periods.
Technology partnerships add a super tool to our team’s arsenal. We get things done faster, have more redundancies in place, and can subsequently focus more on client communication and growth. These partnerships also add a clear cut differentiator in at the sales level.
What is it about Skai that makes it such a great fit for Straight North?
Skai helps ensure our clients’ investments are used as efficiently as possible each month, eliminating hours of manual budgeting tasks each day previously reserved for Excel worksheets.
It also provides us the ability to quickly generate forecasts that showcase growth potential to leadership teams in a detailed but accessible format. This combination of efficiency and growth fits perfectly with Straight North’s overall strategy for our clients.
Does your agency have a marketing tech foundation as strong as Skai?
Ska™i is the only full go-to-market engine that enables smarter decisions and better outcomes with actionable intelligence in making customer connections. Our platform includes a suite of data-driven products for market intelligence, omnichannel media activation, testing and measurement, enabling brands and agencies to make predictions, improve strategic planning and drive growth on the most important customer channels.
To learn more about how Skai can uplevel your agency’s offering and increase your clients’ results, please schedule a brief demo to see everything our suite of market intelligence and marketing execution tools have to offer.