Agencies need to build tighter relationships between disciplines like creative and media, as the decoupling of these activities usually leads to a damaging commoditisation of their work.

Jodi Robinson, president/North America of Digitas, discussed this subject at the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) 2019 Decisions 20/20 conference.

More specifically, she suggested that agencies which continue to uncouple services risk a “race to the bottom” that makes them appear more like interchangeable vendors.

“Anytime we decouple ... our media and the creative message that lives within those platforms, the more we’re commoditising those channels and that media,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Digitas/NA chief: Embrace changes in agency models or suffer the consequences.)

Too often, she insisted, brands are overly focused on speed and cost efficiency. “That’s what clients keep asking their media agencies, instead of elevating the conversation,” Robinson said. In doing so, she added, the “value that we create” is lost.

“Somehow,” Robinson explained, “we’ve lost this higher order [notion] that media really is just an amazing place to put a creative message.

“We need to be masters at whatever message is most resilient, impactful, and contextually relevant in whatever those media channels are.”

To reach that status, “We need to bring media and creative back together and make sure media doesn’t walk into the room without that creative partner,” Robinson said.

And the development of new information-driven tools has further advanced the facility for such cooperation for marketers, she asserted.

“The data and technology that we’ve built is phenomenal,” Robinson said. “We’re using the data we have available … for the messages that actually have to deliver value.”

Regaining trust, and understanding client motivations for looking to consultancies and in-housing certain capabilities, are essential tasks for agencies, too.

Instead of fighting what seems to be an inevitable realignment of partnerships, Robinson told her 4A’s colleagues, “It feels like we should support the effort versus fight it and deny that it’s happening.”

Another important issue: “What we can’t do as marketers is connect those messages across all those platforms,” she reminded the 4A’s assembly.

“That’s incredibly frustrating. And it’s where we all have to rally and say a better experience means connecting all those platforms … The overall strategic customer experience needs to be absolutely our number one priority.”

Sourced from WARC