How is the agency model changing? Part two

2014’s Top 100 Digital Agencies report has revealed some changes in the agency landscape.

I’ve been looking at changes to the agency model. In part one I looked at PepsiCo’s Galaxy model, the trend for marketers and agencies influencing the wider business, and how clients are increasingly embedding agencies or in-housing skills.

In this final part, it’s time to discuss the demand for speed and agility, data’s influence and changing pricing models.

How is the agency model changing? Part one

Michael Nutley’s report for 2013’s Top 100 Digital Agencies began with the assertion that “now, more than ever, the only generalisation that you can make about the way marketers and agencies are working together is that there are no generalisations to be made”.

I’d go further in 2014 (see the latest Top 100 agencies report)  and say that in many areas of marketing, client methodology is as varied as it has ever been, media volume is higher than ever and technology is eliciting tension in traditional agency models.

At the same time, customer expectation is soaring and transparency, or at least value, is increasingly the elephant in the room.

The aim for agencies is, of course, to provide value, but the continued digital transformation of clients is also making it harder for the agency to provide the right support.

Maturing marketing channels are increasingly integrated, dictating a converged media strategy. This is often better served by in-house expertise or by the embedding of specialist agencies. Project work, too, is on the increase.

“Change is constant” is one favoured aphorism of the marketing analyst. For agencies, if anything, the rate of change is constant, too.

Senior level employees have greater digital knowledge: stats

So, you think your manager is an idiot? Looks like you’re wrong, as senior level employees have better digital knowledge than their juniors.

That’s according to preliminary averaged results from the Econsultancy Digital Skills Index, designed to test digital knowledge across marketing.

It seems that senior level digital employees can put their money where their mouths are as they scored higher than mid-level respondents, who in turn scored higher than junior respondents.

The average scores for each level of seniority were 67% for juniors, 72% for mid-levels and 74% for senior respondents.

The assessment will remain live and continue to hoover up data, so take the test if you’d like to benchmark your skills against those of your peers.

In this post I’ll reveal a few findings from the assessments so far and discuss them in light of the skills of the modern marketer (incidentally, the title of a new Econsultancy report in our Digital Transformation series).

A third of businesses outsource paid search and display: report

The decision on whether to outsource specific digital marketing activities is impacted by a range of factors, but in general it comes down to resource and business priorities.

Some channels clearly benefit from being brought in-house, such as social media and content marketing, but others are just as effective when operated by a third-party.

The new UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report published by Econsultancy and Latitude investigates which digital marketing activities are most commonly outsourced, with the results showing that three in 10 companies are conducting their paid search (30%) and display (28%) advertising entirely through an agency.

In contrast, three-quarters of companies handle their analytics (75%) and social media marketing (73%) in-house.


Marketers doing more in-house: the trend no-one talks about?

Achieving the right balance between building in-house capability and outsourcing is one of the defining questions of modern marketing.

Research conducted for Econsultancy’s new Best Practice Guide to Insourcing and Outsourcing indicates that this is an ever-shifting dynamic.  

When combined with variations by sector and digital maturity, it means greater complexity for marketers and greater difficulty in establishing exactly what good looks like.