Agency of the future

“How The Wayin Campaign App Store Solved My Toughest Agency Challenges”

Andy JacobsLast Updated: agency

Guest blog post from Andy Jacobs, Digital Agency Veteran, CTO and Managing Director. 

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I recently had the opportunity to gain some hands-on exposure to the Wayin App Store and it quickly became clear to me that there are countless benefits to agencies who use this platform.

Much of what I am about to share with you here is gleaned from my personal experience, having spent the past 17 years in CTO and Managing Director roles at agencies in the Havas Digital, IPG, and Publicis agency networks.

It’s first beneficial to look back at what it was like in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Those were fun days for digital agencies utilizing the few marketing technologies available then. Back then there was a lot of enthusiasm over interactive experiences but not a lot of confidence around how to develop and execute digital marketing campaigns. But we were committed to figuring it out. Back then technology didn’t have a seat at the table and the tools available to technologists were primitive and hard to use. And most significantly, in those days, the tolerance for a failed campaign was much higher than it is today.

Fast forward to today and we quickly realize that things are very different. Today we have a very digitally savvy marketing client who is laser focused on solutions in the form of exquisite digital marketing campaigns. Technology has a seat at the table, perhaps even at the head of the table, with access to a broad spectrum of very robust tools, some of which are IT heavy and not user friendly. And not surprisingly, today’s marketing client has no tolerance for failure and is quick to change their agency partner when an engagement campaign fails.

For agencies, pitching a marketing technology solution to a client is a tricky proposition. Not necessarily because of the technology, but because of the difficulty to implement a simple, elegant, digital campaign solution. Faced with a myriad of marketing technology solution options (with many strong brands) the CMO is also left to wonder if their agency can deliver the solution. In many situations the marketing client holds the budget for the development and execution of digital campaigns leveraging marketing technology.

With all of this in mind I took some time to reflect on my many pitches and discussions with client marketing teams. Four themes bubbled to the top of my mind while doing this. How many times have you heard these concerns expressed by the marketing client?

  1. You all have such great ideas but how confident are you that you can do this?
  2. This seems like a great solution but how long is this going to take?
  3. I love your case studies, so why does this cost so much if you’ve done this before?
  4. You seem like smart marketing technologists but how well do you know my business?

In short – Confidence, Time to Market, Efficiency, and Understanding of the Business. I believe that these are the things top of mind for the marketing client. And these immediately came to mind when I spent some time using the Wayin App Store, so I’d like to take a closer look at each one of these concerns and consider how the App Store addresses them.

 

1. Increased Confidence

I can’t tell you how many times I heard a client say “your ideas are great but can you do this?” Clients are weary of an agency’s ability to deliver solutions with integrity – functionally complete, on time, within budget. We all know stories of projects that have crashed and burned (I certainly have my share of scars). What am I talking about? Well, consider this scenario: agencies seem to thrive on the drama of last minute delivery (probably a holdover of the old days of making it up as we go along). And at the last minute inevitably something falls through the cracks. QA is usually the thing that suffers the most when campaign construction time frames are compressed. Then comes the realization that some functionality will be left out due to several reasons (cost, time, skill/experience, etc). In the end the agency delivers a fraction of the proposed solution (and it may not function correctly) and the results of the delivered campaign fall short of expectations. Does this sound familiar? If you have been around as long as I have you know what I am talking about. So it is certainly fair for there to be a questionable degree of confidence on all sides of the stakeholder framework when discussing ideas for a campaign.

Well, something to consider is the “confidence” baked into the apps in the Wayin App Store. The readily available functionality in the Wayin App Store allows agencies to deliver marketing solutions with increased confidence. Even more importantly, it allows agencies to “sell” marketing technology solutions with confidence.

Agencies can now leverage the App Store to demonstrate digital marketing functionalities with integrity, therefore taking the confidence issue out of the equation.

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2. Time to Market

Now, more than ever “time is money” for marketing clients. The length of time a campaign takes to construct represents lost marketing opportunity and increased campaign construction costs. Marketing executions are moving quickly these days and there are no signs of them slowing down. Marketing clients are using terms like agile and scrum when highlighting the need for quick delivery. Marketers demand short campaign construction timelines and agencies are infamous for taking longer than estimated to deliver their work. Let’s face it guys, we know it’s the truth and clients know this from experience.

The readily available functionality in the Wayin App Store presents a QTM (quick to market) digital campaign delivery platform for agencies which addresses this concern.

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3. Smarter More Efficient Spend

More than once when presenting a proposal, a client has said to me, “well if you’ve done this before, why does it cost so much to do it again?”. And you know what, that is a fair question, especially knowing that marketers today are questioning the effectiveness of their spend. The media is flooded with skepticism concerning the ROI of utilizing marketing and advertising technologies.

I think the root of the problem here is that the focus of attention in a digital marketing campaign engagement today has become the technology implementation. And the reason for this is many agency technologists love to re-invent the wheel using the latest and greatest technology (I know that years ago I was guilty of this), instead of finding ways to reuse successes of the past to avoid the pains experienced the last time they went down this road (and instead creating new pains in the process).

Add to this the fact that agency technologists often use ‘heavy’ solutions from one of today’s marketing clouds as a hammer. They often see solutions influenced by their strategic partnerships with strong brands such as Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, etc. These are of course very robust solutions but I’ve never heard anyone categorize them as a simple, elegant, digital marketing solution. In many cases these solutions are overkill and today’s marketing client knows this.

Taking all of this into account, another reason for the client’s concern is the fact these marketing cloud solutions have become increasingly complex and a campaign execution using these platforms has become an IT exercise. To address this, some agencies are staffed with armies of technical architects and developers who are called upon to create and execute marketing technology solutions. Not surprisingly the large system integrators are entering the marketing space and becoming visible in digital agency forums such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant. And the reality is that from a cost and scale perspective it is very difficult for digital agencies to compete with the large system integrators for the cost of IT resources.

You see, clients aren’t dumb, they see this coming from miles away. They can quickly translate staffing plans with large numbers of tech resources into increased costs. And the funny part is, this is in direct contrast to the original intent of marketing technology platforms which is to free the marketer from the burdens of IT. Instead, this scenario fills the client marketer with a tremendous level of concern. All the marketer thought they needed was a simple, elegant digital marketing solution and they are now looking at a staffing plan numbering in the dozens of techies.

Instead, using the Wayin App Store, the discussion moves away from technology and back into the hands of the marketer – a scenario that leads to smarter, more effective marketing spend.

 

4. Understanding of the Business

A make or break situation for the agency is when the client asks “How well do you know my business? There are others out there who can do the work a lot cheaper, but they don’t know my business.”

The problem here is (as we just discussed) that all too often the focus is about the technology and not about the solution for the business. Clients want to work with a partner who understands their business and steers them away from complex solution implementations.

To gain the confidence of marketers, digital agencies need to exude an understanding of the client’s business.

Here I believe that agencies can leverage the Wayin App Store to create vertically specific versions of apps by overlaying their experience and understanding of the client’s business and embedding this into an app. This results in a collection of functionality in the App Store that exudes an understanding of the client’s business. The agency can then use the Wayin Platform to demonstrate this understanding by developing campaign proof of concepts.

By leveraging the Wayin App Store in this way agencies can effectively demonstrate their understanding of the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of digital campaign delivery for their clients’ business.

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Putting the Tech Teams to Work

OK – so I can hear you now saying “so Andy, you’ve been a manager of teams of techies. If I hear you correctly, seems that you are telling me to tell the techies to all to go home.” And I’m telling you that nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the good news is that your techies now are more important than ever.

A major concern that I had when I was leading teams of technologists at agencies was meeting the challenge of keeping my teams excited about what they were doing. Techies get bored very easily and their interests begin to wander the second they feel that there is something new that they should be doing (instead of the boring execution of a marketing campaign – again). True, the use of the Wayin App Store takes technologists out of the discussion. Yet at the same time the App Store also gives agencies the ability to focus their techies on the flood of emerging technologies encompassing the IoE (Internet of Everything) and utilize this new skill to create new apps for the App Store.

The IoE is the buzz of new solution options for agencies and marketing clients will be delighted to see these new emerging technologies embedded in the solutions found in the App Store. The benefit to an agency is tremendous because techies are more apt to be excited and stick around knowing that they are working on cool emerging technologies (and will also get their friends to join them). Having the tech teams construct new apps for the Wayin App Store incorporating new technologies across the IoE such as AI and mixed reality is a far better, more fruitful and satisfying use of your talented technical resources than utilizing them to endure another long and painful march to deliver a complex (and perhaps unnecessary) marketing platform implementation.

 

To Conclude

So, if you have encountered any of these concerns with a marketing client: Confidence; Time to Market; Efficiency; and Understanding of the Business, I believe it is worth your time to get familiar with the Wayin App Store (why not, you can look at it for free!)

These concerns held by the marketing clients are valid and an agency’s clever use of the Wayin App Store to address these concerns will go a long way towards paving the road to a successful cadence of campaign executions.

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