At Curated, we had recognised shifting patterns within the marketing and advertising industry around late 2018. Client expectations were changing, and so were their value perceptions. After looking at our proposition, we realised that our perceived value to clients had shifted and we needed to be braver in communicating and articulating this.
We spent the later part of 2019 rethinking about our positioning and then in the early part of 2020, we took the plunge to pivot from agency to consultancy led agency. Overnight, clients became partners. Frameworks became our lifeblood. Strategy was first and foremost. Ultimately, this was integral to helping our partners navigate the uncertainty of the initial throes of the pandemic.
The more we speak to similar agencies, the more we understand the values that this ‘new wave’ of agencies and consultancies embody.
So what is a new wave agency?
Whilst checking in with the pulse of industry, I came across a great piece around the new breed of agency on Campaign Live by Maisie McCabe. The thought piece summed up the new breed of agency as:
Agents of change
As a team, this was a real lightbulb moment. Curated is firmly part of this ‘new wave’ and is actively changing how the marketing and advertising industries are viewed.
This made me sit back and think – ‘so what attitudes do new wave agencies display?’
Under the bonnet of a new wave agency
- Don’t act like an agency – we are consultancy-led first. Instead of accelerating straight into tactics, we think about the bigger picture, the trends and the insights that can shape a marketing and advertising strategy. Forget the 15% kickbacks, and think about the strategic consultation we can offer.
- We put the customer at the heart of every decision – solutions, not products. Every customer is looking for solutions to improve their emotional state, so this is first and foremost within any marketing strategy. How does your customer think or act? What is their hierarchy of needs? What motivates them?
- But don’t be everything to everyone – whether this is Curated or one of the brands that we advise. Full-service used to be all the rage, however now it is the quickest route to blending in. Identify your MVA (minimum-viable-audience), the solution for them, and double down
- Reduce friction – behind the essence of customer satisfaction, is the reduction of points of friction. You will not deliver the perfect solution straight away, however through iteration and constant improvement you will deliver value on a long-term basis. Think marginal gains, not a big bang
- Be curious – the macro environment affects everything, from consumer behaviour through to economic policy. Being ignorant to these changes is a sure fire way to leave you sitting still. Understand and harness trends and insight to be more resonant and relevant to your end customer.
- Less haste, more speed – speed is a huge factor given technological advances and consumer demand. However, this does not mean you can bypass a huge part of the planning process. Strategic agility is the phrase of the moment. At Curated we have put a framework in place to ensure that our partners remain agile and competitive in a fast moving environment
- Don’t chase the channel – in an industry of high percentage kickbacks and advertising saturation, there is a danger of mass advertising becoming more of a focus than the art of marketing. Instead of focusing on a channel first mentality, go back to your target customer. Craft a journey or experience that will delight them, then use media channels to push the customer to their final destination.
- Play to strengths, defer weaknesses – it is important to know who you are and double down on this, whatever your business is. Don’t be scared to partner with business or resources that can cover your areas of weaknesses. You will deliver a far superior solution. One of Curated’s key strategic pillars has been the development of a trusted and efficient supply chain, enhancing what we can deliver for clients
- Don’t think in end points – strategy never sleeps. Delivering great results? Now is not the time to sit on your laurels. Market leading position today, could quickly lead to follower status tomorrow. Have an end vision, but continue to reflect and marginally improve your approach over the long-term.