The Agency Model is Dead (Why You Need to Know and What’s Going to Fix It) #CMWorld2014

Kirk-Cheyfitz-photo_rev-150x150TKG is, of course, known for web development and online marketing strategies. But, what about more traditional offline marketing strategies? Well, it turns out we are actually pretty good at many of those too! From branding to print advertising to… well, lots of things, we help our clients in a lot of different ways. In this session, Kirk Cheyfitz, the CEO and Chief Storyteller at Story Worldwide makes kind of a radical statement: The Agency Model is Dead! But, not to worry, Kirk promises that this session offers a blueprint and practical discussion about how to build the agency of the future (you know, one that does all kinds of things online and offline) and create unparalleled results for clients. We’re totally up for that! Let’s see what we can learn:

Kirk poses the question of what killed the agency model… and he said it’s simple: reality. The old ways of doing advertising aren’t working very well, but they persist against all odds. Budgets going primarily to tv, and the turn is coming very, very slowly.  In fact, Kirk argues that the future happened some 8 years ago when Facebook was opened up to everyone over 13, and when Twitter became a network. And we are still reacting. Slowly.

So, what do we know now? We know you must go digital. Digital is a lot of media and collectively they are #1.

So, what can digital do for marketers? ANYTHING. Drive mass or niche awareness, consideration, validation, purchase, re-purchase. There is nothing that digital can’t do. (This is OLD NEWS.) And, it’s projected that digital spending will overtake TV spending in 2017.

One of the problems with all of this digital though is that it’s spawned an agency fragmentation, where agency’s each do a small part of something. He gives the example of one company reporting that 150 different agencies are touching their business. Wow, that’s a crazy number! Could you imagine having to manage 150 different agencies?

And they’re all disconnected, not talking to each other.

So, Kirk’s proposition is that clients need an agency that understands it all – advertising, content, branding, etc and make it all work together. And there’s no one better suited to do that than content people. (We couldn’t agree more – content and other online marketing initiatives drive so many of the strategies for our clients – and that is only going to grow as brands develop their brands online before offline!)

So, Kirk says you need an Agency of Integration, that brings it all together.

But, there’s a battle to determine who will earn that trust and drive both strategies. And it’s a serious battle because there’s a lot of money at stake (he says $600 billion)

Why choose the content people? Because a great tv idea (advertising idea) is all about a burst of disruption, whereas a great content strategy is about creating content that sustains conversations, drive engagement and keeps people talking for a long time.

Kirk says that the only way to reach audiences is to create media that is entertaining, informative and engaging.

And Kirk says that brand storytelling should win this battle because it can differentiate the story, not offer interruptions just invitations and it’s always on.

But, if we’re going to take advertising away from traditional agencies, then digital agencies have to also embrace and learn basic skills of brand management including branding, strategic planning, media planning and measurement.

First comes brand management. This is a traditional skill that most agencies haven’t touched. To take on brand management, you must be insight-driven with a strong planning and research capability. To insure audiences are assembled quickly, you must have a sophisticated media planning program. And, of course, to know what’s working, you have to measure things with advanced analytics, tied to business results. That’s the only way you’ll ever get a budget.

So what’s the takeaway on all this? To survive the future, content agencies are going to have to expand their skill base and deliver more for clients in an integrated strategy and there’s no one better to do this than content marketers. We agree, Kirk, we agree!

We may tease Leanne about being the only Canadian at TKG, but in truth she’s an online marketing pro with a breadth of experience including SEO, content marketing, analytics and more. She’ll be talking about these topics as well as high level marketing strategy.

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