Agencies need to shift their strategic approach from “marketing” to “mattering”, a transformation based on meaningful relationships, compelling experiences, and other ways of building deep connections to individuals.

Nick Brien, CEO/Americas for Dentsu Aegis Network, discussed this subject at the 2019 Decisions 20/20 conference held by the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies).

“Our industry is in a bit of a mess,” he admitted. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Dentsu Aegis chief demands transformation for agency business.)

While addressing the problem, Brien posed several questions to his agency colleagues. “What does it boil down to from a marketing point of view? Trust.

“Is there enough trust in the system? Is there enough trust in the agencies? Is there enough trust in not just our professionalism, but our judgement, or our execution, or the way we are doing business?”

To start answering these questions, Brien pointed to a “fundamental shift” in the balance of power as consumers have taken more control over their relationships with brands – with profound consequences for enterprises that fail to adapt.

“Many of these channels aren’t controlled by the marketers,” said Brien. “It’s a firm-wrecking shift, because consumers are increasingly curating their own journeys.”

Elaborating on this theme, Brien suggested the necessary transformation involves reaching a true point of connectivity with consumers, rather than interrupting their experiences with messages.

“We’re not just about selling. We're in the engagement business,” he said. “Don’t just market at me as a transactional buyer of products and services … Matter to me as a person and member of communities.

“How do you start to matter?” he challenged the 4A’s annual assembly. “How do you start to matter to me as a person? How do we start ‘mattering’ in the traditional sense of the word?

“I’m still a firm believer that the power of the transitional idea is what will really create brand power,” the Dentsu Aegis chief insisted.

“As we evolve marketing to mattering,” Brien continued, “we need brands that matter … that are making sure that they have engaging experiences.”

Sourced from WARC