Agencies are behind pace: It’s now all about customers first and seamless experiences

I’m currently being put through, what is in effect, “business school” by Google (who selected us as one of 20 agencies from the 30,000 on their list – more about that another time) and this article that was shared to the group caught my attention:

From Mad Men to Sad Men: Is the client/agency relationship in crisis? from Campaign.

In particular though it was these two quotes:

Agencies are largely behind pace. It’s now all about putting customers first and designing seamless experiences – driven by tech and innovation.

and

The marketing role has clearly diversified and communications now make up only a small part of the marketing mix. Instead, managing the customer experience is taking up an increasing proportion of marketers’ time and budget.

It rang true because it expresses so much of what I’ve been trying to communicate over the last several years,  perhaps more importantly because when I look at the best work we are doing for clients, it fits into this category.

Helping Customers

It is also the work that excites our clients who are most engaged with us.  Take for example this recent comment from a customer who brought us in to develop their marketing plan:

Thanks for your time today – it was invaluable and we now have a direction for the group – at long last!!
We are [details of how they plan to move forward with the proposed new customer experience that will form the key tenant of the organisation].   Thanks again to you all for your help.  I for one, am feeling excited about the future of ‘[new experience]’.

It wasn’t really a marketing plan we gave them (though we did as part of the work to ensure we met the original brief) but a plan for a “seamless experience” that put the customer first.  The base that could then be marketed.  Without it, the marketing would simply have fallen on deaf ears.

It may not be what clients are coming to us for (yet!) but it is this work that marks the turning point in our client relationships, where we move from being seen as an SEO and PPC provider to more of a partner intricately involved with many aspects of the client’s business.  We call it “online business optimisation”.

To return to the article:

For agencies in the customer experience space, this is an exciting moment in time. Customer experience skills are in demand in the boardroom and an understanding of how to solve business problems through technology is at a premium. Most of these agencies are receiving briefs that include the words “business” and “transformation”.

Although we are doing increasing amounts of this sort of work, we aren’t yet receiving those briefs but if I’m honest, the thought of receiving them excites me.

Creativity

I believe that the Attacat skill set is well disposed to this.  We get tech, we provide innovative solutions, we create seamless experiences that put the customer first and we regularly discuss and at least tweak (if not transform) business models.

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