Quest for A New Agency


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Quest for the New Agency: What Marketers need Most.

Featuring the 5 Habits of Successful New Agencies -- from Chris Brogan and Awareness, Inc.

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Quest for A New Agency

  1. 1. Marketing Agencies & Social Media Quest for the New Agency: What Marketers Need Most Featuring the 5 Habits of Successful New Agencies Thie eBook was authored by Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, Co-Author of “Trust Agents” with Julien Smith
  2. 2. The Quest for the New Agency The Agency Evolution Marketers are being challenged, more than ever before, to live with not only smaller budgets, but broader expectations of what can be accomplished with limited resources, both human and capital. Marketing efficiency and adaptability are key in a business environment where risk tolerance is low, but the demand for differentiation has never been higher. To balance the two, marketers must change not only their spending focus and toolset, but their mindset and approach to building awareness and affection for their brands. Online audiences are broad, nimble, and scattered across multiple online channels. The noise level is high: brands are competing heavily for their share of not just sales, but advocacy and awareness. And consumers hold new and valuable currencies: their attention, loyalty, and recommendation. “Clients complained that their agencies -- creative, media, public relations, design and others -- typically treat social channels like blogs as traditional media. In other cases, their ideas are not backed up by practical skills in the area. What's more, one client pointed out that his agencies have little of their own experience using social networks or video-sharing sites for themselves.” - AdWeek “Social Media: My Agency Doesn’t Get it” February 28, 2008 Social media and social communications hold great potential. They're changing the way companies present themselves, and the way their customers help build and shape their brand. They're providing a platform for humanized business, and true dialogue between businesses and the people that drive and support them. Push marketing is being replaced with collaborative, conversational and content driven communication that puts people back at the center of business. The well-equipped agency - versed in the methods and mindset for social media - will be a corporate marketers' strongest ally. 2
  3. 3. The Quest for the New Agency The State of Now According to Forrester's recent report, US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 to 2014, interactive marketing spending will near $55 billion and represent 21% of all marketing spend by 2014 as marketers shift dollars away from traditional media and toward interactive, social, and online marketing. And data from eMarketer shows that worldwide social network spending alone will rise an estimated 18% next year to over $2.6 billion. Social media is gaining traction in the marketing world, and it's no longer just for early adopters. Customers are asking for brands to be present, accessible, and available. Social channels give them that access, and companies are recognizing that they need to be participating and engaged online where their customers live and interact. Budgets are declining. Expectations are changing. Marketing is evolving. And agencies that focus their dollars, efforts, and expertise on stagnant strategies for their clients will struggle to keep up with the new media era. On the upside, well thought out social media strategies can be more cost effective and flexible to execute than many traditional programs. Marketers and their agencies have power to do more with less, leverage their existing budgets, and explore more community- driven communication with lower risk and higher potential reward. While marketers are focused on reducing spend overall, they're paying much closer attention to social media and its impact on business. Today's successful marketing agencies understand - and can translate into business value terms - the new landscape of social communication. The most successful agencies – The New Agencies – that have been most successful in the new media era demonstrate 5 habits that differentiate them from traditional agencies. 3
  4. 4. The Quest for the New Agency The 5 Habits of Successful New Agencies Leading with Strategy Without question, today's agency has to not only understand the basic function and culture of social media, but they need to be able to blend and bridge new marketing strategies with more traditional approaches. Brands have invested heavily in their existing marketing efforts and the social media strategy needs to be woven into the fabric of what they're already doing. Marketers will look to savvy, informed agencies to help establish a foothold for social media inside Photo Credit: Ocell their organizations through strategy and education. A critical piece of successful social media execution, the planning process, can be led by an agency to help marketers determine: * What audiences they want to reach through social media and why * What their communities are looking for through careful listening and monitoring of relevant conversation * The objectives, tied into larger business goals, that they're going to measure their efforts against * A road map to drive strategy and execution, including an audit of existing efforts and aligning social media within them * What metrics and measurements will demonstrate success “The value in agency partnerships will be not on a project execution basis, but on a long term guidance basis with an investment in a marketers' engaged community.” Culturally, marketers will look for allies that can help them build internal consensus, too. Where traditional agencies were often charged with mass production and execution of messaging and campaigns, the new agencies are community cultivators and educators. From teaching companies about the overall social shift in brand communications to explaining how various tools and networks fit into the larger marketing mix, agencies can be a credible, external voice that helps marketers make the case for social media inside their walls. The New Agency will also understand and embrace their role as mentor and educator. Social media success depends heavily on customers and communities feeling an authentic connection to brands and the humans behind them. They want to interact, connect, and know that companies are invested in long-term dialogue with them on a personal basis - not through the filter of an agency. Rather than creating and delivering finite projects on behalf of companies, successful agencies will play the role of guide for social media initiatives. They'll work with marketers to establish strategy and objectives, but hand execution and long term responsibility back to the company. The value in agency partnerships will be not on a project execution basis, but on a long term guidance basis with an investment in a marketers' engaged community. 4
  5. 5. The Quest for the New Agency Sustainable Creativity The very nature of successful marketing campaigns is changing. Traditional campaign mindset involved a finite initiative - with a launch and an end date - that touted features, advantages, and benefits all through carefully crafted messaging. The intent was to capture attention of people and, while you had them, make them hear what you wanted to say. When the campaign was over, you counted success as having delivered that message as many times as possible to as many people as possible in hopes that the ratio was large enough to generate a sufficient percentage of leads. Photo Credit: dalydose Today's marketers seek something broader from agencies. The social web isn't a series of disparate campaigns with start and end dates. Marketers need to keep their conversations fresh, relevant, and continually evolving to meet the needs and interests of their audience. New Agencies will help their clients deliver helpful, useful, and valuable information to their customers and communities on a regular basis. Campaigns will be about related and interconnected pieces of actionable information - an ecosystem of resources - rather than sound bites and taglines. Campaigns will become more about unifying people around a common interest or cause, and less about short bursts of attention centered around clever creative or promotions. Creativity and cleverness in marketing today is about "stickiness": the power of an idea to rally not just attention, but investment. Brands today belong to their communities as much as their creators. Marketers and agencies together can be the catalyst for social creativity and branding that is captivating, sustainable, and is driven by the people that know it best: customers. Considering the Whole Enterprise Yesterday's marketers and agencies functioned in a vertical silo. It was their job to communicate, to broadcast, to deliver messages inside their own context within an organization, rarely touching other departments or functions unless absolutely necessary. It was they that presented and managed the brand, from within the confines of their department. Today's marketers and agencies have to change mentality. Social media has implications and impact outside the marketing and communication areas of an organization. It impacts customer service, sales, research and development, brand Photo Credit: cwalker71 management, even human resources. People that connect with companies through social media don't segment themselves into departments. They want to reach people that are accessible, human, and helpful. And the particular job description of those company connections is of little consequence outside the walls. Agency partners and marketers have to work together to deploy social media strategies in consideration of all the potential touchpoints inside and outside the 5
  6. 6. The Quest for the New Agency organization. Agencies will need to look beyond a client's communication efforts and understand how a new level of community engagement will affect various departments and roles. Internally, agencies can help marketers find, identify, and tap the enthusiastic members of the team, and retool company resources and roles to accommodate and incorporate social media initiatives. Home Base and Identity Part of social media's attraction is that many tools and sites are free or incredibly inexpensive to use. They provide instant, flexible access for marketers that are looking to make connections with their community without risking their precious budgets on expensive (and marginally effective) outreach campaigns. Building outposts on sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter can be a simple way of reaching customers and prospects where they spend their time, and giving them a touchpoint for a brand or company. Having presence and availability on the social networks that your customers and clients' customers prefer is a critical piece of smart social media. Equally if not more important, however, is having a "home base" to which customers and prospects can return and explore a more meaningful, connected relationship with your company. Not only are native sites and communities easier Photo Credit: catd_mitchell to brand and maintain within a company's image and vision, they can grow and evolve to meet the changing needs of the community over time. Native sites can be home to rich resource libraries, user-generated content areas like blogs and forums, profiles for members, and strong features for sharing and connecting within a more niche, focused community that broader social networks may not provide. In addition, using only third-party outposts means that valuable data about your community - the people most interested in connecting with you - is housed externally. By building a native community, marketers can better protect the valuable connections and information they've worked hard to build, and provide a home for content and resources that is secure, independently managed, and scalable for the long term. Marketers will look to their agencies to help recommend strategies for balance: setting up outposts on social networks that make sense for them, but building deeper and richer destinations for their customers and communities as a whole. 6
  7. 7. The Quest for the New Agency Analytics, Measurement and ROI Ask any marketer their biggest challenge in making the case for social media, and they'll likely tell you it's measurement and demonstrating ROI. With marketing budget down, marketers are focusing resources on the areas most likely to generate a return. New agencies must have a deep and confident grasp on all of the ways to assess and measure social media success, including the integration of old metrics and new. As trusted advisors, agencies will be tasked with helping marketers not only Photo Credit: HeyThereSpaceman. measure future efforts, but benchmark current ones. Setting baselines and understanding how key metrics tie back to goals and objectives form strong analytics that can inform key business decisions. Social agencies and marketers will need to look at key indicators such as: * Awareness metrics like traffic, membership, and media coverage both online and off * Engagement metrics like comments, votes, ideas submitted or content created * Revenue Generation metrics like lead generation, conversion, and sales * Loyalty and Affinity metrics like referrals, recommendations, or reviews The new agencies can deliver incredible value for marketers by helping them not only measure and analyze their efforts, but help draw conclusions based on that information, tying them directly back to initial goals. Strategy for social media will never be static. Behaviors and actions in social media are simple to measure, but more difficult to interpret and attribute to revenue growth and cost savings. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of particular initiatives and having the courage to adapt and change tactics will be key. Swift action and nimble redeployment will be a mainstay for marketers and agencies, turning traditional process on its head. And ultimately, proving the value of social media by demonstrating relevant results will be the only analysis that truly matters. 7
  8. 8. The Quest for the New Agency Community as an Anchor Community is the new organic foundation for branding. It's where a brand lives, thrives, and evolves. No two communities are exactly alike, but there are affinities that draw members together, and can help serve as a catalyst for socializing company communication. Marketers and agencies alike can tap these characteristics and shared interests to rapidly build a community framework and foundation for social media outreach. Innovation The Innovation community is built around community-generated ideas. Whether you're creating a new product or service, looking for new product ideas, or doing research into the preferences and feedback of your community, forming an Innovation community gives you the power to solicit input through voting and feedback mechanisms from the people driving your business. And giving your customers a voice in your future makes them feel invested, connected, and valuable. Corporate Voice Your internal community has something to say. They have ideas to share, content to contribute, discussions to start with the outside world. The Corporate Voice community allows you to speak to your market in a personal, “humanized” voice and receive direct feedback on your ideas while giving your audience and customers a platform for interaction and communication with you. Discussions can range from industry trends and topics to product development, or even give your executives an accessible, visible touchpoint with the people that drive their business. It's a window into the company culture and people that gives a face and a personality to a brand. User-Generated Campaigns Traditional marketing loves contests, campaigns, and awareness programs. But they're finite, and often don't have much of a shelf life after the promotion period ends. User-Generated Campaign communities keep people connected by cultivating community around a contest or campaign. It encourages users to participate, vote on other people's content, and interact with other contributors. And whether the campaign goal is lead generation, PR, a product launch or branding, community members have a more personalized experience that will keep them connected after the campaign is over. Loyalty For a fan of your product or service, access and connection is one of the greatest rewards they can receive. Loyalty communities are focused on thanking your customers for their business, and giving them exclusive rights and privileges as a reward for their business. Membership in these communities is often a privilege in itself, and community members have a sense of importance and "insider" status that connects them more deeply with the company and other community members that share their affinity. Companies can mine a wealth of information from loyalty members that are eager and willing to share their input, feedback, and ideas about why they love their brand. 8
  9. 9. The Quest for the New Agency Enthusiasts Some of the strongest communities are brought together because of a common passion. Members self-identify and connect with others that share their enthusiasm, share ideas and thoughts, and contribute feedback. Often, these communities aren't focused on a specific brand or product, but rather a level above - on an idea, topic, or activity that's connected to a brand in a relative way. For these types of community members, belonging to a group of people that share their passion is part of the reward for participation. Associations & Subscribers If your product or service is based on membership or subscriptions, there can be immense value in building community around and for those members. Association and Subscription communities allow companies to create special categories or areas that support different needs. Differentiating public areas from membership-only areas can also give subscribers access to richer, more in-depth content, and give the company direct access to customers in a more privatized forum. Members can connect to each other, share best practices, and communicate ideas to the company in a more exclusive format. Peer Support Communities can be led, grown, and sustained by their members. Peer support communities focus on the member-to-member connection, bringing people with similar experiences and needs together. Members can get help from others, and enthusiastic and experienced individuals can emerge into positions of community leadership. Successful peer support communities are provided strong and consistent access to company contacts for information and resources, but often use their own knowledge and experience to contribute ideas and solutions to other members. Events Like campaigns and promotions, events have a finite timeframe. Creating a community around an event can not only create and maintain buzz for the event itself, but stimulate dialogue among attendees, speakers, organizers, and guests. Membership is driven through event registration, but the community can connect, interact, and communicate long after the event itself is over. Participating in event communities as an entry point can also encourage members to participate and connect with the company in other ways in the future. Marketers are looking to agencies today to help them identify their communities and understand how to unite and connect them. More than just understanding a brand promise, the agency role is now about understanding the people that drive a brand, rally and gather around it, and how to communicate with them in the most human way possible. New agencies are community cultivators, encouraging participation and interaction, and guiding their clients to tap the potential of social media and two-way conversations with their customers. 9
  10. 10. The Quest for the New Agency Building on Proven Successes – A few examples Edelman and the American Heart Association: Go Red For Women: A great example of a User Generated community, the Go Red For Women movement was started by the American Heart Association in collaboration with their agency, Edelman. The community celebrates the passion and power of women who are active in the fight against heart disease. What started as a grass-roots campaign has blossomed into a national movement with millions of members championing the cause, and earned them an award from PR Week for Nonprofit Campaign of the year in 2009. Outposts on social networks like Facebook and Flickr combined with a native community and offline initiatives help the Go Red movement stay active and driven by their passionate community. Hill Holiday and CVS: For All The Ways You Care: CVS Pharmacy and their agency, Hill Holiday, wanted to celebrate the role of women as nurturers and caregivers. They launched the community in 2009 after a successful television advertising campaign and contest. The foundation for the site is sharing of stories, experiences, and narratives among members, and now celebrates a strong and growing membership. Profiles help connect members to each other, forums offer support and conversation, and resources on the community help direct members to everything from parenting to adoption, illness, and relationships. 10
  11. 11. The Quest for the New Agency ASOS - Enthusiast Community ASOSLife is a commuity of fashion enthusiasts hosted by The community has hundreds of thousands of members and drives ongoing dialog between the brand and it’s customers around fashion related topics. AIRMILES - Loyalty Community AIRMILES is a loyalty community exclusivly for AIRMILES members to share tips & tricks, share vaca- tion experiences through photo galleries and engage in discussions. Marriott – Corporate Voice Community The “corporate voice” style blog that is hosted by Marriott CEO Bill Marriott called “Marriott on the Move,” has been responsible, says Marriott, for $4M in additional revenues. Not bad for a person writing about their passion—especially considering that in that business most dollars are probably hitting the bottom line. Proctor & Gamble – Innovation Community The Social Media Lab is an online community that connects P&G internal brands to external “innovation partners” so they can network and collaborate on social media projects. Constant Contact – Peer Support ConnectUp! The professional network for customers to communicate, connect, share knowledge, ask questions, and get inspiration. Hersey’s – User Generated Content Hershey’s has embraced the Web 2.0 community and has even chosen to power six different online brand communities to engage and share content for varying interests. Earth Knowledge – Association/Subscribers An interactive resource that provides communication and knowledge-sharing between organizations that interact around environmental issues. Note: Awareness, Inc and New Marketing Labs, LLC Grants permission for re-use of the content herein with the understanding that the user will cite the author, Chris Brogan (President, New Marketing Labs) and include a reference to both Awareness, Inc. ( and New Marketing Labs, LLC ( 11
  12. 12. The Quest for the New Agency social media marketing software Contact Information: About Awareness Awareness, Inc. Awareness helps companies build and operate branded Web 2.0 communities. These online 880 Winter Street, Suite 300 communities let customers, prospects, employees and partners connect with each other and share Waltham, MA 02451 content. At the core of the Awareness solution is an on-demand social media platform that combines the full range of Web 2.0 technologies—blogs, wikis, discussion groups, social networking, United States podcasts, RSS, tagging, photos, videos, mapping, etc.—with security, control and content moderation. Tel: 1 866 487 5623 Awareness builds these features into complete communities for companies, or customers use the Fax: 1 781 622 2378 Awareness API and widgets to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their own web properties. Major corporations such as McDonald’s, Kodak, the New York Times Company, Northwestern Mutual and Awareness Canada Procter & Gamble use Awareness to build brand loyalty, generate revenue, and drive new forms of marketing. Find out more at 5050 South Service Road, Suite 100 Burlington, ON L7L 5Y7 Canada Tel: 1 866 487 5623 Fax: 1 905 632 4922 © 2009 AWARENESS, INC.