Big Idea: Julie Batliner, Carmichael Lynch Spong

Julie Batliner, MD, Carmichael Lynch Spong, explains how firms are already set up as agencies of the future.

As part of an RFP response we were asked to "explain how your firm is set up as an agency of the future." Yet for Carmichael Lynch Spong and others, the future is now.

Marketing disciplines are congregating. New digital channels are constantly arriving. Paid, earned, owned, and shared media are converging.

At Carmichael, it’s our job to keep brands and clients in the now and the next. Clients want agency partners who can help them gain share of conversation everywhere – not just in their respective disciplines.

In this ever-changing environment, agencies need to be nimble. Traditional processes are gone and using that old system could mean missing the brand opportunity of a lifetime.
   
Proper structuring
In the digital world, firms must be structured so senior people not only lead in setting strategy, but are also on top of daily opportunities to insert brands into real-time conversations.

Ideation has to be in our DNA. The agency workspace and pace must facilitate information exchange and promote fresh thinking in innovation hubs, on-site research rooms, and social media centers for experimenting with ideas.

Each day, we must review trends so we can bring clients ideas that take advantage of new digital tools and cultural crazes. We must staff teams with tomorrow’s talent: brand sociologists, trend experts, and social engagement strategists, among others. The best people are equal parts creative thinkers and quantitative analysts.

Integrated solutions
We also have to know how to put it all together. If content is king, integrated thinking is queen. Agencies have specialists in research, design, media relations, and analytics. The convergence of those areas matter as clients want integrated solutions and a quantitative and qualitative approach.

If you’re afraid of losing control of your idea, you’re missing an opportunity to amplify that idea through other disciplines. Get people comfortable sharing a unifying idea so other disciplines can tweak it.

Marketing and digital analytics must inform the strategy, optimizing execution in real time, and measuring success throughout the campaign. Data is both a rearview mirror for past performance and a forward-facing predictor of a campaign’s success.

One thing will always remain true. We need to execute flawlessly. The best ideas can fall apart in the implementation phase. Ideas may be built upon by new trends, newsworthy events, or influencer buzz.

We’re turning around creative content as fast as our clients can approve them.

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