Market orientation in the new world of (digital) agencies

It’s common for many companies to rely on external support for their sales, marketing and communication activities. The large impact technology has on the working and everyday life has led to the digitalization of communication channels and the emergence of digital touchpoints with large media reach and opens up a whole new universe of opportunities how companies can communicate with and activate their customers and market their products.

Digital instead of analog – as consumer behavior undergoes massive change companies shift their focus in the way they communicate and interact with the end customer: rather than focusing on a product’s functionality, marketing messaging needs to build personal connections with clients and prospects through the use of storytelling and credible content. Marketing programs and messages play a pivotal role in building strong relationships with customers and great customer experiences across all channels and media.

Who can provide help? The current changes in the consulting and agency market show something clearly: Traditionally, strategy consulting has long time been the exclusive domain of management consulting providers, creative solutions, design and communications exclusively available from traditional communications and PR agencies, technology and IT consulting from IT technology consultants.

Client organizations are calling on consulting service providers or agencies to focus on adapting and optimizing cross-media or digital marketing and communication activities. In order to come to terms with the shift in client demand and to meet new market requirements the consulting service providers’ and agencies’ responses to this shift in client demand involve that traditional boundaries between market segments are disappearing. The past years have been seen a growing convergence between the worlds of management consulting, technology consulting and creatives (marketing, brand and communication agencies).

As a result, consulting and agency service offerings are converging and encompass topics like:

  • Digital strategy and services
  • Cross-media content and campaigns
  • Interactive brand experience and touchpoints
  • Data-driven marketing, CRM, data & analytics
  • Brand, creativity, UX and design
  • Digital products, front- & backend development (platforms, portals, apps, tools, VR).

There are many opportunities to develop optimized buying and brand building processes along the entire customer journey. To solve the related challenges successfully a combination of various roles and skills are critical: strategists, creatives, thinkers, doers, analysts, technicians, specialists and generalists.

For consulting firms and agencies it will be a challenge to accommodate these different services and skills within the same company: Much is owed to the fact that “state-of-the-art” marketing, sales and communication advise require holistic approaches and the interplay of interdisciplinary experiences and competencies. Some of the hybrid management and IT consultancies and digital agencies seem still to struggle with offering all services under one roof.

In their attempt to link strategy, technology and marketing consulting services, consulting companies and agencies are building eco-systems by partnering with or buying specialized providers to be able to offer genuinely integrated and end-to-end services for their clients.

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