Mynewsdesk research

Brands Question Value Of Big Agency Networks, Social Media Firms And Content Shops: Study

on June 11 | in Agencies, Content & Social | by | with 6 Comments

Arun Sudhaman (54 Posts)


A new study suggests that brands are questioning the value of hiring large agency networks amid rapid advances in communications technology.

The survey from Mynewsdesk polled almost 200 marketing and communications professionals. 75% of respondents believe brands will question the value for money large agencies offer due to the results small agencies can achieve using communications technology.

Respondents from the marketing sector are most cynical about large agencies,with 93.5% questioning their value for money, compared to 77% of PR respondents and 68% of comms pros.

The results small agencies can achieve using communications technology will make brands question the value for money large agencies offer

The results small agencies can achieve using communications technology will make brands question the value for money large agencies offer

Meanwhile, only 17% of respondents believe brands are currently getting value for money from using external agencies to manage their social media. Almost half (45%), furthermore, were undecided as to whether social media agencies offer value for money.

Worryingly, one in four respondents thinks that impartial, independent journalism will die out as a paid profession within 50 years, with 10% believing it will die out in 10 years.

Not that journalism skills will become less valuable. 48% of respondents expect employers will prioritise journalism skills over data analysis skills (26%) when recruiting communications employees.

Most respondents (64.6%) predict that brands will bring content development in-house in the future rather than relying on external agencies, and that distinct marketing, PR and social media roles will merge into a single job title (54%).

The research is released ahead of Mynewsdesk’s #FutureComms14 conference in London next week.

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  • Mark Stouse

    Good piece, Arun. If impartial, independent journalism dies out, we’ve got much bigger problems than just what it means for our profession.

    Beyond that, I think we’re seeing both a lot of group think here and a tendency to treat this homogeneously. For example, the fact remains that customers facing high-cost, high-risk buy decisions are moving faster and faster out of the awareness-oriented Paid and Owned channels into what many are calling the “triangulation for Trust” phase of the journey. This is where Earned and Shared are particularly powerful, both as magnetizers and magnifiers of third party and peer-to-peer perspectives.

    Second, we’re seeing many professions evolving and even revolutionizing, and one aspect of that is the idea of T-shaped talent, meaning that one must be a generalist with one or more areas of specialization. The pure generalist can’t go deep enough to be impactful, and the pure specialist often doesn’t have enough contextual awareness to be effective. We’re seeing this in IT, in HR, in Finance and we’re seeing it in Marketing and Comms.

    Comms is ultimately about persuasion, often on a pretty intimate basis with a key influencer. This is not a skill set that people in Marketing often have, mainly because so much of what they do is “stand off” programs that seek to connect with people at a distance. This may well change as Marketing becomes more about Customer Experience, but that’s still in the future for many companies. Right now, and into the future, professionals who know how to connect with influencers and sell them on a POV will remain extremely valuable.

  • Mark Stouse

    Re the core of your piece — the move away from large network agencies — I think the real issue is the lack of a mechanism to establish, track and prove value. This is where so many of the efforts around measurement have simply fallen short — they do not address the fundamental questions of the C-suite or the people who report into those roles.

    I question whether the client-side folks who are making these statements are seeing the comprehensive picture. For example, the cost structure around effectively managing a host of disparate specialty agencies — particularly on a global basis — can be very, very high in both hard and soft currencies.

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