Is Product Development the Holy Grail of Agency Survival?

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For the past several years or so, it's become fashionable for advertising agencies to dedicate a portion of their time to product development. Some do it for clients. Others do it all on their own. The poster child in this space is Nike FuelBand, a fitness product co-created with the brand's advertising agency RG/A. It was, and is, a runaway success.

Other agencies have dabbled with product creation. Crispin Porter + Bogusky developed a line of premium rum, Papa's Pilar. Deutsch LA, which has a program dedicated to entrepreneurial pursuits, created a floral delivery service, Bouqs, and an independent film entitled Between Us. Boston-based MMB launched a line of environmentally friendly children's clothing that donated proceeds to animal shelter charities. And Anomaly worked with outside consultant The Kind Group to create a line of skin-care products, Eos, currently being sold at Target.

All well and good - but why would an agency dedicate resources usually reserved for serving client business to product development?

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by Steve Hall    May-28-13    
Topic: Agencies, Opinion



Can Big Data Exist Alongside The Big Idea?

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The term "big data" has become quite prevalent in the marketing world lately. In a previous Central Desktop article, I examined the notion of big data and how it pertains to how brands and agencies work today. We started with a simple definition of big data.

In our marketing world, big data describes the plethora of information we have accumulated through the monitoring of consumers as they browse, socialize, search and purchase online. Every time a person visits a website, a cookie is dropped within their browser. Every time a person responds to a call-to-action from a landing page, data from the form they filled out is captured.

That's just a small example of big data's makeup. Dan Zarrella, HubSpot's social media scientist, told me a little bit more about the kinds of data that are important to marketers and agencies - and how marketers and agencies should be using that data.

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by Steve Hall    May-21-13    
Topic: Agencies



Production Company Does Agency.com Fist Bump

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Oh how this Rooster Worldwide self-promo video harkens the days of old when Agency.com made fools of themselves with their Subway Pitch Video. First off, it's all well and good for people to have interests outside of their daily jobs but would you really hire an agency that answered the question, "Are you a production company or an ad agency?" with "Oh, you mean that shit we do to pay the bills when we're not skating?"

Or a creative director that describes himself "I'm a creative director, a writer, an actor, a dad. But mostly, I'm just another fucking skater"?

The video is categorized as comedy on YouTube. We hope that's actually what Rooster intended.

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by Steve Hall    May-20-13    
Topic: Agencies



A Marketer's Guide to Evaluating An Advertising Agency

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If you're a marketer looking to evaluate an ad agency, this report from HubSpot, A Marketer's Guide to Evaluating an Ad Agency, is just what you need. Complete with a two page printable agency evaluation form and 8 criteria by which you should evaluate an agency's effectiveness, this guide will save you time and make you a hero in the eyes of your CEO.

Download the guide and evaluation form now to insure you select the right agency for your brand.

by Steve Hall    Apr-23-13    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Research



Study: Automated Media Buying to Rise But Face Challenges

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In a survey of 100 media agencies, media owners and brands, conducted by the Festival of Media Global 2013, many believe media agencies are adapting well and that the media planner's role will change to take on more of a strategic/advisory capacity; however there is some concern over a lack of industry standards and transparency, and the disadvantage of a lack of human input.

Most respondents (66%) say they expect automated media buying to increase next year, with 26% of the group indicating they feel this increase will be substantial. Similarly, 63% say they expect an overall increase in automated media planning, with 20% believing this will be substantial. 55% agree automated media on the whole has increased in the past year - 22% saying substantially.

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by Steve Hall    Apr-10-13    
Topic: Agencies, Research



How to Hire the Perfect Inbound Marketer

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Are you a little bummed out at your 0.0000000001% response rates for your online ad campaigns? Angered over Mozilla and others turning cookies off by default in their browsers (so you can't properly target your potential customers)? Or maybe your miffed your "blind buys" result in your brand appearing on questionable sites?

Yea, the current online advertising model in totally broken. You need to check out inbound marketing. Better yet, you need to hire an inbound marketing expert. That may seem daunting if you don't truly understand inbound marketing but, never fear. HubSpot has published a pocket guide to hiring the perfect inbound marketer for your agency.

Get with the program. Inbound marketing is where the puck is headed. Don't get left behind. Download this guide and learn how to hire the perfect inbound marketer.

by Steve Hall    Mar-25-13    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Tools



World's Fastest Agency to deliver 140-Character Concepts in 24 Hours

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Ad man Floyd Hayes, formerly creative director at Cunning, has launched the World's Fastest Agency. Hayes has a long history of interesting stunts including most recently sending a 3D replica of his head to prospective employers.

This week, Hayes has launched a new agency that promises to be really fast in three easy steps. Here's how it works. First, send $999 to Hayes via PayPal. Second, DM Hayes your 140 character brief to @FastestAgency. And three, receive a 140 character response from Hayes.

As proof of concept, Hayes points to similar work he did while at Cunning where a brief, "Gain media and buzz for our park-anywhere small car," resulted in the concept, "Attach replica cars to landmark city buildings."

Would you send Hayes $999?

by Steve Hall    Mar-19-13    
Topic: Agencies, Promotions



How One Agency Increased Revenue 3,597 Percent

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So you want to win a Lion at Cannes this year? Good luck with that. And to what end anyway? So you can put it on a shelf, let it collect dust and hope it leads to new business? How about a more proven method?

How about a method that can increase your revenue 3,597 percent? Oh, you think this is yet another cheesy white paper offer? Well it is a whitepaper offer but it's not cheesy in the least.

Smart agency owners know that survival requires an imminent shift toward digital marketing services like blogging, content creation, search engine optimization and social media. But that transition is easier said than done.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-18-13    
Topic: Agencies, Research



JWT to Launch Pop-Up Agency During SXSW

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Much to the chagrin of the geeks, the ad industry has firmly latched onto SXSW and is doing its part to get a piece of the startup pie. One agency, JWT, has decided to launch a pop-up agency at SXSW that will last just five days from March 8 until March 12. Called Walter, the agency will meet with 25 startups and choose the candidates it feels have the best offering and, of course, the provide best return for the agency.

Partnering with startup accelerator TechStars, the agency launched a pop-up website, Call Us Walter, to attract potential clients.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-28-13    
Topic: Agencies, Industry Events



Talent Pool: Are Specialists Endangered?

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In some of our past coverage, we've touched upon the changing nature of professional experience needed to form effective creative and marketing teams, how those teams should be structured and how agencies are reinventing themselves as the market has shifted away from the traditional agency of record model.

Add to that the notion of pi-shaped talent which, like T-shaped talent, describes a person with broad knowledge in all areas but adds capability for both left-brained and right-brained skills, and you have a dramatic shift in workforce expertise.

This shift toward a workforce that possesses a multifaceted skill set begs the question: are specialists endangered? I think not.

Read the rest on the Central Desktop blog...

by Steve Hall    Feb-18-13    
Topic: Agencies










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