Feb 10, 2010

Why Social Media Is the New Agency-Client Relationship Builder

We've looked at many ways in which giving importance to social interaction and integration of online and off line leads to better engagement with customers -- new and existing. Social is also inspiring many to move away from campaign-focused thinking to ongoing relationship-building.
There is a set of relationships brands engage in that may need revisiting in view of this game changing dynamic -- that of the company and its agency(ies).
Is the new spot that social media gained in the PowerPoint reports to executive teams in many companies causing marketing and communications teams to revisit their relationships with agencies and third party providers?
From separate buys
With the decline of big TV, radio and print buys, many businesses started atomizing their budgets to specialized agencies to make media buys, creative work, digital interaction, public relations, lead generation, email marketing, and so on.
Add to that building or identifying communities and brand evangelists, providing content marketing support, data analytics, and so on and you see how you could be working with a dozen or more agencies.
To one conversation
However, for conversation strategies to be successfully implemented all of those pieces of the marketing communications mix need to be integrated with each other and with a mechanism the business can use to uncover new opportunities to make what it learns in interactions operational.
Are we seeing a consolidation of those relationships? From many service providers to one agency? Given the rush to becoming that lead provider, there seems to be a trend in that direction. A recent AdWeek article termed it the great race between traditional and digital shops to win the brand account. This is a bigger conversation than traditional/digital.
One agency, still many areas
What about PR, media buys, monitoring, community building? Is there any one agency able to handle all of this well? Many PR and communications agencies are moving aggressively into digital as well.
If you think some of these activities should be handled by companies in house, you're correct. Some companies are hiring skilled people in these areas. The challenge is how to scale activities quickly to support them effectively and provide business results, fast. Isn't this how the world operates anymore?
This information scales for the small business owner as well. While you may not be able to afford hiring a big agency, there are many consultants who partner with other providers to support your business.
It sounds to me like social media is bringing back the need to have one key entity -- person or agency -- leading coordinated efforts. It's a kind of resurgence of the agency concept at the times of large TV and media ad buys, except for now the buys are a combination of content, relationships-building activities, and packaging for different channels and tools.
Are you looking to consolidate your relationships into one lead company or consultant? Why/why not?
[of course, you could argue, that agency situation reflect corporate situation. Thanks to Tom Fishburne for clarifying that.]
Source: http://www.conversationagent.com