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The Agency Model As We Know It is Evolving — and It’s About Time
Advertising Agency
London, UK
INFLUENCER: Engine's Debbie Klein on the industry-wide shift towards content and a more nimble, agile way of working with clients

As tech and consultancy firms continue to move into our market and phenomena such as fake news unsettle the public's already wavering trust in marketing communications, it is more important than ever for agencies to adapt. In a world moving faster than ever before, if we are to remain relevant we must do so quickly and intuitively. 

As a result of an increasingly fragmented and fast-paced consumer environment, clients today need and expect ‘always-on’ content and design capabilities alongside the more traditional marketing services offered by their agencies.  That’s exactly why new models such as on-site, embedded agencies have gone from strength-to-strength in recent years. Round-the-clock service from a dedicated in-house team with unfettered access to wider agency expertise is steadily becoming a necessity for modern brands. 

But just having warm bodies on-site isn’t enough anymore. 

Thanks to the exponential advance of technology and the wider availability of data, as marketers we are now able to measure and analyse our work with more precision than ever before. So, it makes sense that on-site agencies should also be able to deliver effective and immediate measurement of the work they produce. 

That’s where NuFu, our new on-site agency offer, comes in. 

NuFu provides on-site marketing support for clients, and together with Engine’s data agency Fuel and Engine Media, creates a bespoke best-value service for each client. 

According to a recent IPA report, providing data-driven services and creating compelling digital content are among the most important opportunities for clients in 2017, alongside the need to optimise customer experience. 

Why? Because, in recent years we have seen dramatic changes in audiences. As millennials emerge as the dominant consumer generation, dynamic tech platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram have become integral to the ways in which we communicate with consumers—and more importantly, the ways in which we charge for our services.  

What’s more, the volume of data that we, as marketers, now have access to is radically changing the way we target and develop our campaigns. By tapping into different work streams, including digital transformation, IT and customer experience, agencies can make campaigns bigger and better, while diversifying their portfolio of services and tapping into bigger budgets.

It is, therefore, only natural that agencies - and the consultancies that are increasingly moving into the communications market – begin to converge around the data space. Understanding the power of data is crucial in today’s communications environment – it results in more targeted, transparent and ultimately cost-effective campaigns. 

Now more than ever, it is clear that agencies that can expand their capabilities and demonstrate their expertise at the cross-section between creativity and accurate data analysis will be the agencies of the future. 

That’s why agencies like NuFu not only have to embed creative teams in client organisations, but must also draw on data analytics to measure and evaluate their performance – providing a truly end-to-end, bespoke service for their clients. 

In the future agencies will be seen as ‘platforms’ able to dip into an extensive communications toolkit to deliver truly effective services for each client. Breadth of expertise, in the age of the “one-stop shop” agency, will continue to be important and as clients’ needs shift, this will be invaluable in helping agencies keep their heads above water.    

Embedded on-site agencies and data analytics experts are just some examples of how the world of agency is changing. Only those agencies that remain agile in responding to client demands will manage to stay ahead of the curve and continue to thrive in 2017. 

Debbie Klein is Chief Executive, Engine Europe and Asia Pacific