With digital marketing poised to take a larger part of the ad budget at most firms, it’s worth asking whether ad agencies that specialize in digital will own the future. A new report from RSW/US suggests that the best strategy for an agency in these competitive times may be to specialize in 2–3 industries and offer both digital and traditional marketing services.
RSW/US routinely surveys agencies and marketers to determine general attitudes about industry issues and to help agencies determine how they can position themselves to be more competitive. These days, 84% of agencies say they are specialized to stand apart from their competition. Some of this specialization is industry-specific with 37% of agencies saying they are experts on 3 industries. While about ¾ of marketers want their agencies to have a specialty, that number is lower than it was 3 years ago. Part of this may be because marketers realize that technology is changing rapidly and that what they really need is a winning strategy.
Beyond specialization, this survey also asked about economic attitudes. Recovery is taking hold but when marketers deal with their agencies, 27% plan to use more cost-effective media and 23.4% will be slow to start spending this year. But about 66% will spent at least as much or more on marketing than they did last year. Spending will be somewhat or significantly higher in 2013 by the following percentages of the firms in this survey:
- Traditional 24.8%
- Digital 66.7%
- Social media 52.4%
- SEO 41.9%
The survey also revealed that as more marketers grow comfortable with new technology, they don’t necessary see the need to hire a specialty agency. As a result, agencies pitching for business this year are likely to emphasize their ‘holistic’ plan for an enterprise’s marketing needs and underscore their digital expertise as just one more benefit.[Source: 2013 RSW/US Agency-Marketer Business Report. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2013]