For the past decade, some agencies have struggled to include digital into their core offering. The core of this issue is not talent, a willingness to put in the necessary hours or clients willing to take the necessary risks (although these can play a factor).
The main reasons why agencies fail to deliver true integration is the insistence of using a ‘traditional’ approach to production, and a lack of digital vocabulary and understanding across the business.
Continuous collaboration – not isolation.
The key issue facing integration agencies is the simple matter digital teams are often consulted in isolation, rather than in collaboration with the wider team.
Historically, agencies are separated into four main units working independently to deliver campaigns. Media & Insights deliver target audience intelligence, Account Service manages communication between the client and agency; Creative comes up with ‘the big idea’ and production delivers the final product.
The digital workflow however, works a little differently. It relies entirely on collaboration, not isolation from each business unit.
Digital projects are living things – not stagnant items. They require continuous refinement and improvement. New technologies, development libraries, device diversification, platform differentiation, data collection and attribution models and social media tools can all influence the relative success or failure of any digital project – and these need to be considered throughout the project – not tacked onto the end.
Digital teams rely on collaboration, not isolation to deliver the best results.
Understanding the value digital vocabulary brings.
The bigger issue stunting integration in agencies is a lack of a digital vocabulary across creative teams. Agency staff aren’t always made aware to best how to use internal resources and valuable insights these digital team members can deliver.
Digital team members can contribute to each step of the development process, informing the client and team of data and insights, UX, UI, creative, graphic design elements, important analytics and data capture elements, best practice SEM, SEO, front-end development issues to back-end considerations,.
Digital teams must consider all of the ‘what if’ scenarios they may encounter and how best to deal with them, throughout the entire project workflow
This is vital to understanding how to deliver the objectives for each project, track relative success or failure and make the necessary changes needed to continuously improve.
If traditional agencies want to include digital in their core offering and be truly ‘integrated’, they need to become better educated on the value a collaborative model delivers.
Success means true integration and therefore greater relevance to their clients and larger billings in their bottom line. Failure to do so means the loss of great digital minds and clients moving digital business to specialty agencies.
They key for digital is collaboration.
Traditional agencies need to figure out what they want out of digital as part of an integrated offering. If they want to bring digital to the table properly, they need to understand how digital teams must work.
For the balance of the agency (especially suits) understanding the terminology means understanding what is possible, how to speak to clients and how to make digital not only profitable, but an equal partner in the creative space and ultimately, award winning.