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The SoDA Report 2013


Made By Many co-founder Stuart Eccles ponders digital marketing outlook

The SoDA Report 2013

“Digital marketing is no longer the most powerful solution that digital skills can offer,” ponders Stuart Eccles, co-founder of Made By Many and European chairperson of SoDA (Society of Digital Agencies).

We’re discussing the latest SoDA trend report that has just been released. With guest contributors from the likes of SheSays, LVMH, and Adobe as well as members of the elite SoDA network, the most striking thing about the latest edition is its sheer diversity. It covers topics as varied as HR and smartphone shopping behaviour.

“The report covers everything from collaboration, to design, to creativity, to agile processes. And because of the diversity of these elements, it means that in the future we will rely heavily on collaboration,” explains Eccles. “I really doubt that anyone shall always have all the skills that they need and, as such, collaboration becomes key to every agency. That’s the thing that SoDA has fostered since its start. It’s that collaboration, that interconnectedness between agencies and the understanding of diverseness within technology.” 

Such range, suggests Eccles, is a sign of the changing function of digital agencies. Within advertising the term ‘digital’ may seem almost redundant when every campaign or project has a digital element, but that’s why there is a need to look beyond advertising.

“Social architecture’s becoming digital; you can consider everything from TV to outdoor advertising to be digital. So much is becoming blurred. I think we have to look from the broader perspective of how technology has changed our clients’ business. I believe that isn’t limited to advertising and marketing.  The Internet has swept across our clients’ organisations. It’s changing everything from customer service, to the infrastructure, to marketing and of course direct sales. All of these things interconnect. Digital agencies and smaller agencies are set up to help their clients with an extraordinary range of business problems, some of which are marketing related, but not all. This interconnectedness allows them to drive results beyond marketing. This is the next stage within the industry that we’ve built.”

So what juicy nuggets can we expect from this edition of the report? There’s advice on how to handle the tricky balance between educating your client and doing yourself out of a job, how to streamline workflows, and an appealingly counter-intuitive piece about our growing craving for analogue.

In the tech talk section, things get heated as contributors debate the true impact (and relevance) of big data. Whilst Stephen Foxworthy pulls his hair out at the terminology and the ineffective use of results and findings, SapientNitro’s Santosh Subramani argues that there is still much to consider when it comes to considering ‘Big Data’

“I don’t think any of these things are locked in stone and data is definitely a debate you can see one way or the other,” reflects Eccles. “It’s like that old adage… big data is like teenage sex because everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it. Partly that’s true, but data has had a massive effect on the media buying industries, it’s forcing that industry to be more prioritised. The effect of data on creativity is still a massive debate and I don’t think there’s any way that people are finding data will replace creativity in itself.”

The report also tussles with the legal, moral and technological aspects of Internet privacy, with SheSays co-founder Ale Lariu pondering the possibilities of ownership. However, despite this year’s dramatic NSA revelations, it seems that the trend towards greater leniency and comfort sharing of personal information continues to grow.

“I hope that we see great debate about Internet privacy,” says Eccles. “If you look at anything in the popular press that deals with digital, it fails to be rational. These things are going to move along but I cannot see any indication that people are moving away from these services as they offer less privacy protection. For instance there was a great thing about Instagram and its Facebook acquisition. They changed the terms of privacy and ownership and people said that this would result in users leaving in droves. But they didn’t. We’re not seeing people voting with their feet (or delete).”

In all the report is, according to Eccles, a fair summary of the current state of digital and its future. Going forward, he believes that those companies who limit their understanding of digital to a marketing tool will not fare as well as those who see technology as a flexible problem-solving resource kit.

“This thing called digital is a very diverse experience,” he says. “Companies that have a very business-problem focused lens, and who understand how digital is changing the landscape, those are the companies that shall do well.”

Check out the latest SoDA trend report at:

view more - Trends and Insight
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LBB Editorial, Fri, 08 Nov 2013 09:45:08 GMT