This post if by Guy Norwell, Business Development Director, UK & EMEA at RedWorks.

Over the past few years, as more and more brands look to achieve one-to-one marketing, personalised content has become the buzzword that everyone wants to own and the area every agency wants to be seen as expert in.

In the rush to deliver this personalised content and be seen as the people to turn to, agencies have gone to battle, vying for the lead position in this evolving discipline. At the forefront of this battle, hoping to position themselves as the organisation of choice, have been the advertising agencies – focusing on their ability to create and tell stories. However, in the era of personalised content, advertising agencies are arguably the least fit to take this crown.

Advertising is about mass market, not personalisation

Advertising is and, in the main, continues to be about mass engagement. It is about a big idea that appeals to many. This is the polar opposite of the aim with personalised content. So, if personalised content isn't about creating a big idea that can be replicated, and it can't be created centrally and then pushed out, then advertising agencies surely aren't the answer.

As personalised content needs to be delivered in real-time across the various touch-points between a brand and consumers the big advertising agencies are increasingly being found out to be too big, too slow and – typically, too expensive.

So what's the solution? Who should own personalised content if not the big ad agencies?

I'd suggest that there shouldn't be one owner but instead brands should get themselves a SWAT team; a small, elite team that can deliver big results swiftly and efficiently.

Step forward the SWAT team

This SWAT team should be a dynamic team of no more than five people – ideally two to create the idea, the strategy and the guidelines around how to execute it, and then two or three people to deliver the plan and react to publishers/tailor content at the point of contact as needed. Each member of the team should be a specialist in brand strategy, creative, data analytics, content development or publishing; the days of traditional ad agency 'creatives' having single discipline responsibilities no longer works.

By bringing together specialists in one elite team, brands will be able to be far more agile and reactive – characteristics that will define its very success in this age of personalised content. It is what consumers expect and this is the only way brands can deliver against these expectations.

Forward thinking brands are already moving to a situation where they look to harness the benefits of disbanding the one stop-shop ad agency. Indeed, the decoupling of production alone has enabled many brands to save up to 40% on the development of their marketing assets as well as increasing the speed of delivery without compromising on quality. However, as the need for personalised content to be produced instantaneously for any consumer touch point increases, a greater shift needs to occur.

Traditional suppliers of marketing assets aren't out of the game yet, but they need to act now if they don't want to get left behind. Consumers won't wait and, soon, neither will brands.

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