Shifting Perspectives Thanks to Digital Disruption
Recall the most beautiful symphony you have heard.
The percussion thunders confidently; the strings float weightlessly, carrying you through a story; brass punctuates, and woodwinds sing. The true success of an orchestra lies with the ability of the conductor to know how to fully leverage each family of the symphony. Great conductors ensure that each family seamlessly integrates at the precise moment to create a melodic harmony. Between the advertiser and the audience in the Canadian digital orchestra, the symphony will be established when each family (the Agency, the Vendor, the Publisher, etc.) agrees to play the same tune. Historically, the advertiser has recognized the agency as the conductor. Arguably, the role of the conductor is being redefined due to the rapid innovations in Ad-Tech and Mar-Tech platforms.
If we look back on the history of the advertising world, the relationship between agency and advertiser was simple. Traditionally, an advertiser would work with their agency of record (AOR) to create an overarching message focused purely on creative content and delivery. Print focused storytelling (newspapers and magazines), radio, and later television all required not just engaging creative content, but also the ability to buy impactful media across a number of different platforms. This was the era of Don Draper and Mad Men.
With the rise of digital and programmatic media buying, we have witnessed unprecedented disruption in this ecosystem, causing a ripple effect, and a shift in perspective. More companies are surfacing to act as middlemen in the execution of a digital ad campaign, adding value, but also complicating the once fluid dynamic. Competition for the advertiser’s budget is high and the relationship between agency and advertiser is no longer simple. Thanks to digital, the consumer is interacting with both the brand and competitor brands 20 times a day, through more channels than ever before at lightning speed. With this, we are seeing an industry shift from media and creativity, to data and analytics.
“The consumer is demanding integrated and fluid experiences,” Naveed Ahmad, CEO of Addictive Mobility says, “this is going to be a significant reason why some businesses flourish and others succumb.”
Regardless of how your company fits into the digital puzzle, you need to make sure it is part of a holistic brand strategy. Operational silos, fragmented datasets, and smoke and mirrors will not triumph. The conductors of our time are playing Mozart and Beethoven to an audience demanding a different kind of sound, and it is up to us to change the tune. With the growing number of diverse and functional players in the new ecosystem, it’s time to look at the big picture and connect the dots between datasets.
The big question today is how do we do this, and who is orchestrating it all?
The Evolution of the Conductor
Today Facebook, Google, Accenture Digital and Deloitte Digital presume they are best suited to take on the role of the conductor for the advertiser. Although they may not have the creative chops and historical relationships that the agency has maintained, these companies insist that they can assemble a more efficient orchestra than the agency. Marketing and advertising technologies are converging to create single solutions for the advertiser. Some within the agency world consider these competitors “frenemies”. Enemies that they need to keep close to their chest, but far enough from their clients so as not to “steal the show”.
In an era where the pace of technological innovation is occurring at unprecedented speed, perhaps the greatest challenge facing the media industry today is testing, customizing and adopting new solutions to create true value. It is important for all stakeholders to keep in mind that the end goal is the client’s success.
In an attempt to create a single customer identity across all communication channels (both online and offline) Advertising Technology solutions with Marketing Technology solutions have become more deeply integrated. The term MAD Tech emerged as a result of this convergence. Historically, the agency’s role was to create engaging messaging, content, and public relations, and then subsequently buy media to promote the brand’s message to their consumers. The agency world was not set up to audit or evaluate each and every technology solution in the market. However, in attempting to align with the advertiser’s goal of creating an omnichannel strategy, the sense of urgency to build trust between vendors and agencies has been accelerated. Agencies, consultancies, and even Google and Facebook, that bring seamless solutions in a cost effective manner will progress in this phase of disruption.