THE EVOLUTION OF THE AGENCY-Top Ten Takeaways from BOLO 2010
I attended the BOLO 2010 conference organized by AgencySide. BOLO’s mission is to help agencies profit with new digital marketing technologies. I was as impressed by the attendees I met – mostly agency principals or management- as by the speakers and sessions that addressed many of the technologies our firm is now recommending to clients.
The marketing and advertising industry will experience more change in the next 5 years than it has in the past 50 years. It is imperative to keep ahead of the changes while continuing to follow classic, solid business practices.
Below are my top ten takeaways from the conference.
1. NEW TOOLS ARE FOR EVERYONE
The emerging tools in our industry are no longer for the “tech elite.” Technology is in the hands of the masses and has altered the consumer’s mindset. They receive information across multiple channels and expect customized content. We as marketers need to use the new tools to deliver content that is relevant and appropriate for our audience.
2. MARKETING MUST CHANGE TO STAY RELEVANT
In the future, there will be no bias toward a specific media. Ideas will come from various sources and will need to be filtered for their relevance toward the end goal. Interactions will be increasingly important as we create experiences across owned, earned and paid media. We will have to determine the new metrics of success and learn to analyze the data and optimize for change. Firms that manage a mix of media will stay one step ahead of the competition.
3. YOUR BLOG IS A GATEWAY
It has been said that you don’t know what you know, until you write about it. No one knows this better than someone who blogs. The gateway to your agency should be your blog. The website should be the place to sell yourself. Your business card is Google. Your resume is your blog. So, let your blog represent your company and play to your strengths, while using it to fish for new business.
4. MARKETERS ROLES HAVE EXPANDED
Because marketing is 24/7 in today’s world, clients are having a harder time keeping up. This heightened presence of advertising and marketing in our society makes it more vital than it has ever been. Our role as marketer has expanded to being a navigator and an interpreter to all that is changing in the world of communications. We also must be ready for any crisis and keep score for our clients using a multitude of metrics. The number of tools in our toolkit has multiplied and as marketers, we need to be open to these new technologies and integrate them into our client’s marketing plans.
5. ONLINE IS ALL ABOUT TRUST
Everyone wants to work with someone they know, trust and like. We all have many interactions online everyday that involve trust. Since visitors form an impression of your website in 1/20th of a second, and humans process imagery 400 – 500 times faster than text, the look of your site is incredibly important in establishing credibility. Trust also affects the number of conversions on your site. Here are four ways you can add credibility to your website:
- Make sure your site has a professional appearance and devote space to your most important messages
- For e-commerce sites, relieve point of sales anxiety with “trust symbols” that assure payment and deliver, data security, privacy and guarantees
- Borrow authority from the media and use the halo effect. Pages with “trust logos” such as “as seen on CNN,” perform 40% better.
- Gain the consensus of peers. If a visitor’s peer “likes” your page, they are more likely to buy or interact. Find a way to create a connection, by offering information or an outlet for issues visitors can relate to and receive social confirmation.
6. HUMANITY CAN’T BE OUTSOURCED
One’s humanity is difficult to outsource. So in this new era of very personalized communication tied to the individual, marketers need to learn to be trainers and advisors more than ever. We will not be able to post every tweet and replace the human interaction completely for our clients.
7. THE PURSUIT OF NEW BUSINESS
Most agencies don’t have identifiable target audiences. Their prospects span too many industries. They need to think narrow and deep in targeting new business. In order to gain new work, firms should lead with benefits, not capabilities and make the principals the social media face of the agency.
8. WOMEN HAVE POWER
The woman is considered the purchasing agent of the family. 95% of all purchasing decisions are made by women. Therefore, having knowledge of the female demographic and understanding the preferences and motivations of this audience will help marketers with the majority of campaigns, clients and industries they work on. Since 97% of all creative directors in the country are male, there is a gap in knowledge of this demographic.
9. YOUR AGENCY SUCKS AT SOMETHING
Your firm can’t be good at everything, so fill in the gaps with outsourced vendor resources. Take the lead on how you want to work. Lay the ground rules up front and work together on a project. Start small and build up to a long-term relationship. This works especially well for new technologies, when you don’t have the expertise on staff.
10. WORK YOUR BUSINESS MOJO
When your company has charisma, amazing things will happen. Great companies are rooted in the community in which they do business, and have a clear understanding of who they are and why they do it. They have good relationships with their customers and vendors and care about their employees in the totality of their lives. The owners and leaders love what they do and it shows. This formula will allow you to follow in the footsteps of many great companies with enviable Mojo.