8 | DMNEWS | August 23, 2010 | www.dmnews.com
Editorial What is the agency of the future?
Mike Osborn Next is getting rid of the silos. Bring creative, analytics
Managing director and founding and digital specialists to the table together at the outset. The
partner, entire team needs to understand how your clients make
Catalyst money. Restructure your agency, if necessary, so good ideas
can emanate from all levels.
Striving for the best If you Google “agency of the future,” 104 million results
bubble up. Points of view range from completely digital, to
Don’t forget to free up your account leads to focus on
strategy. Digital campaigns are more labor-intensive and
with direct marketing
some combination of digital technology and social analytics more complex. If your account leads spend half their day
with consumer insights. managing process, they won’t have the bandwidth to focus
So who really has it figured out? Everyone says they’re on optimizing results. Form a project management depart-
s DMNews embarks on its rebranding (page 1), it digital. But evolving into an agency of the future involves ment to manage the process. It is all for naught if you aren’t
is a good time to reflect on our industry. a lot more than that. You first need to figure out what genuinely invested in your clients’ success. Put skin in the
I’ve witnessed enormous change in direct market- you’re good at, and let go of what you’re not. Don’t try game, and take the time to understand their business. Visit
ing in my 14 years covering this industry as a journalist, to convince clients you’re an expert in branding or Web their factories, warehouses and stores regularly. Know their
from my cub reporter days at Advertising Age through analytics if you’re not. Either specialize or hire the right customers better than they do. Clients want an agency that
my current role as steward of the DMNews brand. talent — no agency can do it all. takes the guesswork out of marketing decisions.
Back in the mid-90s, the promise of CRM had just It is also critical to embed digital thinking throughout Finally, when necessary, bring in best-in-class partners.
begun to percolate among direct marketers and within your organization. Integrate digital across all platforms Give clients access to top-notch solutions, and then man-
the direct agencies, which recognized the potential of an and channels. Everyone needs to get how digital strategy age the partnerships. Do it right, and you’ll increase your
automated way to manage customer relationships as part works and how behavior in one channel impacts the other. business portfolio without having to acquire and integrate
of the marketing strategy. The Web was born at that time Otherwise, you end up with a bolted-on digital solution, another agency.
too, when the Mosaic browser popularized what was then and your clients will know it. firstname.lastname@example.org
commonly called the World Wide Web.
I remember most press releases came over the transom
through fax machines during that time, a major advance Letters From Our Readers
over snail-mailed news releases. Quaint, eh?
Direct mail dominated coverage of direct marketing then, Diffusing USPS angst and remote US inlands for 42 or 44 a few bad ones who slip by (no system
with the “you may already be a winner” saga of Publish- An August 9 Op-Ed “How to save the cents? No one else has the means to is perfect), but in general, the quality
ers Clearing House and American Family Publishers, US Postal Service” by Craig A. Huey, do this without much greater cost, and of persons working for the Postal
well-documented by those of us covering the industry. At president of Creative Direct Marketing to deliver every day for that low of a Service is superior to many of those
issue was customer deception, and in the end, customers Group elicited numerous comments cost. I do not think you have any idea. who are willing to work for minimum
won multimillions from these companies in suits brought from readers of DMNews.com. Huey The USPS would do just fine with rate wages and no benefits.
by a number of state attorneys general. AFP ultimately argued to “end the monopoly” of hikes like those of UPS and FedEx. Please think before you advocate
declared bankruptcy. It cast a shadow over the industry, USPS and is in favor of deregulation turning our venerable US postal
and it’s no wonder that the term “junk mail” has never and privatization. Reader Karen Brunson also dis- system over to the lowest bidders.
completely died. agreed with Huey: The results would not be pretty.
In 2003, the Web, e-mail and search marketing were in Reader Robert Morris disagreed The responsibility for handling
full swing. At the same time, the backlash from consum- with Huey and wrote: