Is the role of the ad agency becoming redundant as a result of today’s online customers being both producers, and consumers of their own content? What happens if these consumer experiences and content become more interesting than the advertising and marketing being produced by ad agencies? Will there continue to be an agency business at all, let alone new business?
As consumers embrace more Web 2.0 experiences, they gain more and more brand control. Even as a write this post, 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 brands are links to user generated content. Consumers are doing things that marketers don’t expect and don’t necessarily want them to do. Their perspectives are trusted by fellow consumers far more than any company advertising or marketing messages, and those perspectives are normally brutally honest and very quickly disseminated. The reality is that brands cannot outspend or out-shout this consumer generated content. They have to find a way to try and be a part of it and proactively manage the conversations as best as possible.
That being the case, how do agencies generate new business opportunities and continue to provide a valuable and relevant service to marketers as Web 2.0 quickly accelerates into Web 3.0? Here are a few thought starters:
- A key challenge for marketers (and opportunity for agencies) remains the need to identify the key insights on which to build the brand upon and then decide where they want to take the conversation from there.
- According to respected social media blogger, Jason Falls (www.socialmediaexplorer.com), there are conversations happening everywhere and most brands don’t have the right people to manage them. Who better to provide the right people than the agency?
- Listen! Your agency should have a formal process and tools to support listening to what consumers are saying about the brand/product/service, and then utilize this information to generate ideas that help get you a foot in the door.
- Two recent studies conducted by Altimeter Group /Wetpaint and Razorfish indicated that the stronger the brand’s social media presence, the better the brand performed – whether measured in conversations or in financial performance. A great segue into new business discussions with both existing and prospective clients.