The new age of direct agencies by ProQuest


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									                                                                                                                                             | May 18, 2009 | DMNEWS | 13

Agency Business Report

The new age of
direct agencies
As the economy sputters, marketers now offer a front seat to direct and digital
agencies who offer measurement and ROI. But, in DMNews’ first annual Agency
Business Report, we found that DM agencies also continue to evolve in order to
stay relevant in a complex age of cross-channel marketing
By Sharon Goldman                                                                                  training as to why we’re doing what we’re              Direct marketers, he says, spent a long
: They are leaders in sectors ranging                                                              doing to benefit our client’s business.”            time feeling rather invisible in the ad world.
from traditional DM and digital to emerg-                                                             He adds that educating clients about these       “We were very much under the radar screen,
ing channels. They remain steeped in the                                                           new efforts is also challenging. “Taking large      we weren’t the visible part,” he says. “We
science of data while offering greater con-                                                        organizations and helping them see a new            were the guys working the data and the
tributions to a company’s overall brand                                                            solution requires pretty considerable heavy         numbers, the stuff being done at retail and
strategy. They struggle both to reorganize                                                         lifting, [which means shifting] how they            with production.” But now, Morel says, mail
their own internal organizations to reflect                                                        think, work and budget,” he says.                   production accounts for less than 10% of
the number and complexity of emerging                                                                 At the same time, today’s clients expect         what Wunderman produces.
channels as well as to educate their clients                                                       their agencies to wring more out of less               “[Our] business is in an exciting time,”
about today’s turbo-charged marketing                                                              – they want increased accountability and            he explains. “It is 60% digital when, in fact,
space. They enjoy newfound respect and                                                             measurement to get the most from shrinking          two years ago it was less than 20% digital.
access to the C-suite.                                                                             company advertising budgets.                        For Microsoft, for example, [our work is] all
   This is the world of today’s direct agen-                                                          “[Clients are] not satisfied with click-         digital — we don’t produce a single piece of
cies, as we proudly introduce DMNews’                                                              through rates,” says Bob Lord, who was              paper for them. With Ford it’s [becoming]
first Agency Business Report. In a series         Daniel Morel                                     named CEO of Razorfish last month.                  exactly the same.”
of online-exclusive profiles, you’ll read about   CEO                                              “They want to know if the product sold,                In addition, DM agencies are becoming
70 of the top direct and digital agencies,        Wunderman                                        and whether it helped their brand impres-           more “front row” for the client, he contin-
including their capabilities, service standards                                                    sion. The line is blurring between direct           ues. “We’ve escalated the discussion we
and corporate identities. You can access all        “[Our business] is                             marketing and brand. Companies see both
of these profiles in our special section on         in an exciting time. It                        as synonymous.”
                                                    is 60% digital when,                           But this tight-fisted client attitude actually
It has been nearly a half-century since             in fact, two years ago                         bodes well for the direct and digital world
Lester Wunderman famously coined the                it was less than                               these days, he adds, because DM can boast
term “direct marketing” in 1961 — which                                                            measurability that traditional advertising
Wunderman CEO Daniel Morel points out
                                                    20% digital.”                                  cannot — so more marketers are turning
was later said by Lester to be better put as                                                       towards DM agencies and cutting back on
“personal advertising.” But today’s DM                                                             traditional spend.
agency leadership acknowledges that the           ever, data have become more abundant and            “While marketing budgets are contract-
past 10 years have truly brought a vast shift     more detailed, and tools to analyze it have      ing, I suggest we’re staying flat,” Lord
to the industry, due to the rise of digital;      become far more complex
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