Of course the Agency wins…right?  They just landed a big ‘ole piece of business!

Or is it the Marketer that wins because they’ve just hired a smart Agency that is going to propel them forward!?

I think the answer is, frankly, an all or nothing affair.

Either both win, or neither wins…and the burden of success falls primarily on the Agency.

While without question, a good collaborative client is key, it is up to the Agency to take the reins and do the driving for you, the client.

So what’s happening in the real world today?

  • Marketers are getting savvier/think they are savvier (they think they know how to measure ROI in the digital/social space just as well as Agencies and they feel they are nearly equal to Agencies when asked to rate how “cutting edge” they are).
  • Marketer perception of skill sets associated with effective integration among digital shops and traditional shops isn’t universally strong.
  • Marketers don’t think digital-only shops can survive long-term – likely because the world isn’t a digital–only world.
  • And finally, Marketers aren’t listening much to the digital counsel their agencies are giving them.

What this means for Agencies circling the wagon today is that they need to get savvier in the space if they are going to lead…and importantly, if everyone is to win. 

Your agencies need to visit conferences like WOMMA and Mirren and eMarketer to learn more about what people are saying and how they are operating in the space.  They need to know how to manage a fully integrated campaign recognizing that 90% of the conversations about brands are happening off-line.  They need to know how to use social and digital media themselves so they don’t just talk…they walk the talk.

In the end, it’s not just about being a technology leader – as owning a technology niche isn’t sustainable.  It’s about being a thought leader and a strategic leader for an agency’s clients.

If in the end, Agencies can better lead the way for their clients, all will win the Agency New Business game.