As Agencies Evolve, Where Do Hispanic Shops Fit?
May 6th, 2010
Posted by Jose Villa
(an edited version of this blog post originally ran on MediaPost’s EngageHispanic on 5/6/10)
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Forrester Marketing Forum. There was one particular discussion, run by Forrester Analyst Sean Corcoran, that got me thinking a lot about the future of Hispanic marketing.
Corcoran’s session, entitled “The Role of Agencies in the Adaptive Era” revolved around the future of agency relationships, particularly digital agencies, in a world where people consume multiple media, trust one another more than they do marketers, social media helps them connect, and consumer determine what is relevant. The session, which referred to Forrester’s March 2010 “The Future of Agency Relationship,” actually went further into an evaluation of the relevancy of today’s “Big 5” agency model of traditional advertising agencies, direct marketing agencies, media planning agencies, interactive agencies and communications/PR agencies. The takeaway: none of these 5 dominant agency types are appropriate for this new era that requires agencies to artfully combine branding, communications, channel planning & execution, creative, technology and analytics. Instead, a new holistic agency model, based on holistic 360 consumer strategies, instead of the old “push” strategies of the 20th century must ensue.
Looking at this situation and based on Forrester’s insights I infer that two trends will ensue. With so many choices (as agencies continue to compete with each other), larger marketers will move away from traditional “Agency of Record” relationships to working with multiple agencies, many of whom will have stand-out capabilities either in branding, communications, channel planning, creative, technology or analytics. These agencies will be given opportunities to work across disciplines, and bring fresh thinking to the old big 5 mindsets. Mid-to-smaller sized marketers will continue to consolidate their work with new “agencies of record” that will “re-bundle” media, branding, creative, technology, analytics and PR to be relevant in this adapative era. New specialties will be organized around industry and vertical expertise, as opposed to capabilities. The big question for big 5 agencies types will be whether to “double-down” and focus on a specialist role or re-bundle to pursue lead agency roles?
What does all this mean for Hispanic marketing agencies, who are also organized around the same big 5 model? Are there other dynamics at work, particularly vis-à-vis the relationship between
traditional agencies and Hispanic agencies?
Needless to say, Hispanic agencies will not be immune from the effects of this dramatic realignment of the agency model and industry. However, I feel the end results and decisions facing Hispanic shops will be different. At the top the marketer food chain, larger marketers will continue the recent trend we saw with Home Depot’s recent decision to move their Hispanic duties from a specialist to their general market agency. These large marketers, as they move away from AOR commitments in the general market, will likely give non-Hispanic agencies opportunities to develop Hispanic programs, across all of the 5 disciplines. It won’t be strange to see general market interactive agencies executing Hispanic programs!
Looking at mid-to-smaller marketers, the demand for “re-bundling” will also likely include multicultural market capabilities. In a world where marketing is more pull oriented, it’s difficult to imagine marketers separating multicultural and general market programs.
The common thread in both of these segments of the market will be that Hispanic agencies will need to expand beyond Hispanic capabilities to include other audiences, including the general market, to be relevant. While that decision won’t be optional, they will also have to decide whether they going to be specialists or lead agencies, in a new “rebundled” multicultural agency world.
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