An article written by Peter Reid in The Drum recently, considered the future of agencies (both digital and creative) – where do they sit? Which services should they provide? What type of clients should they look to engage with?
Peter outlined his belief that there are two streams of agency, data-led and creatively-led. By understanding your agency position within the two streams, you become better placed to succeed at one or the other and start to develop your offering across both.
The piece was very interesting, covered many of the wider challenges and positioning challenges around a digital-centric client base - but was very London and larger agency centric.
This (in my opinion) rather more considered and relevant piece by Robin Bonn, took these considerations further and focused on what, in my opinion, is the overarching future of agencies - namely a core focus on Customer Experience in all its forms.
Robin’s piece reflected the need for considered and focused adoption, positioning and implementation of practical Customer Experience services and skills that agencies need to develop (or purchase), refine and most importantly understand enough, to start to differentiate and market themselves from each other.
These pieces got me thinking, with the need for agencies to develop a customer experience position and then a clear service proposition – is the space available between the current data and creative led streams the field on which strong and effective Customer Experience services and skills can thrive and succeed?
To cut a longer story short – yep.
This gap between creative and data-led agencies is exactly the area in which CX professionals and agencies that have understood and taken the time to shape their own offering can succeed. As a service CX is the join between the data analysis and the truly creative aspects of the business, as an proposition it is what your agency exists for.
Although CX is a buzzword thrown around for some time now – by positioning it as an enabler for the innovation (a view I share with Robin) of an agency’s services and therefore a client’s solutions - a unique opportunity for CX professionals presents itself.
Taking the retrospective view of customer behaviour provided by data, with its more accurate, but short-term insight and adopting the mindset and freedom presented in the opportunity to influence future customer behaviour through the less certain but more fluid creative (including new tech), the innovations delivered via effective Customer experiences is huge.
This crap sketch presents where CX focused agencies and professionals can position themselves in the two agency streams identified by Peter.
Now, many agencies may think they are doing this – indeed many professionals may think the same - but they’re not. They are not stepping back and considering their own offering – they are not doing what they ask clients to do i.e. ‘be informed and intelligent about your services’, they are running to a standstill.
By taking the time to understand where the true potential in CX is positioned – clarity of offering can be achieved, leading to new opportunities uncovered and ultimately by defining what CX is to us and therefore the market we are able to control our own futures.