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Omnichannel Creative Technology Brand Strategy

The sphere of influence: how clients, agencies & tech can collaborate for the future


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

August 14, 2023 | 9 min read

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Marketing leaders from Boots, Red Havas and Klear, a Meltwater offering, share their hot take on the table stakes capabilities to differentiate and create a more collaborative approach in the model of the future.

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The marketing landscape is an ever-evolving sphere of influence, each impacting the other. / adobe Stock

There’s exciting change and progress happening in the agency world right now – for Boots UK’s chief marketing officer Pete Markey, responsible for all the health and beauty retailer’s marketing activity across the UK and Ireland, the need for speed and better integration is more important than ever. A more collaborative approach between agencies and tech partners is required to ensure that all parties are set up to support on this journey.

“The needs for us as Boots have really evolved around winning and winning at pace,” says Markey. “Trends emerge on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, and we need to respond to that. So, having a really agile model with connected agencies talking to each other, sharing data and insight is more important than ever before.”

Markey was speaking to The Drum as part of a short series with Klear, which kicked off in Cannes with Dom Boyd, managing director, UK insights and marketing effectiveness at Kantar [read and watch here], as we set out to explore how the agency model needs to evolve to be future-fit.

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The marketing landscape is an ever-evolving sphere of influence, each impacting the other. The glue that ties everything together is best-in-class data, powered by technology to be able to build stronger connections and enhance what collaborations look like between brands, agencies, tech partners, and the fast-evolving connections with creators, at scale.

Baseline expectations

For agencies, having access to broad data sets of information across social media, the news and what’s happening online is “going to be table stakes,” says Johnny Vance, vice-president, partnerships and business development at Meltwater. “There’s going to be a baseline expectation that all agencies have access to that, to add value through insights, analysis and actionable ability of that data to provide strategic counsel to their clients. That’s where agencies can’t be replaced.”

As clients are being asked to do more with less and to justify every cent of investment they’re making, having agencies “who can rely on that data and use it in a credible, intelligent way is going to set them apart from their peers,” he adds.

With access to expansive amounts of data, through technology, combined with the creative magic that agencies bring, can only be a positive thing for the end client or customer. As Vance notes: “Agencies are being asked to do more than ever and we’re seeing them stretch beyond where they’ve operated historically. Now, from an integrated agency standpoint, having a pulse of exactly what is happening online across the world, is table stakes.

“To be able to operate in an omnichannel strategy, there is a real need to be able to understand what is going on in each of these different channels, and a real benefit [with technology] to using one platform which is able to collect and make sense of huge amounts of data as a single source of truth [to allow] agencies to bring that to life, while unlocking efficiencies and value [for all].”

Integrated opportunities

As one of the early pioneers of the integrated model, Red Havas has seen the benefits of this structure as the entire marketing model moves in the same direction. Being able to manage insights and expertise from a single point of contact and share knowledge and learnings with different teams around the world, through the combination of tech and data, is the sweet spot.

“To be super successful as a brand, you need to really understand your audience, but also understand your brand,” says James Wright, global chief executive officer, Red Havas. “Having that tech stack that gives you the intelligence to better understand your audience and better understand what you can do with your brand. Access to world-class technology is absolutely key.”

Looking to the future, technology is going to play a massive role. “We’re going to see the evolution of new platforms, new social media, and new ways to use AI, but we still need to recognize that ultimately the agency world is still led by strategy and ideas,” he says. “That means that we really need to be a great proposition for talent, because without the talent, we’re not able to create the great strategy and creative ideas that then utilize the technologies which are really just facilitators for that creativity to get out to the audiences that our clients want to reach.”

Points of difference

Markey is clear in his belief that agency and tech partners can be “invaluable in a transformation journey” [like the one Boots is currently going through] but notes that “the critical bit is understanding the uniqueness of the business you’re talking to.” His advice: “take the time to see whether you’ve got anything unique to help transform and accelerate our journey.”

Now is the time to look for the point of differentiation and build out capabilities to be able to create more collaborative approaches and smarter ways of working to influence the always-on, digital world around them.

“Get connected, start sharing, get talking and put the customer in the center,” he adds. “It’s all about speed to market so the quicker you can see something, identify and respond to it, the better.”

In summary, the future agency model will be “dynamic, agile, fast-paced, fun, and customer-centric,” says Markey. To do that, Vance adds that it will also need to be “creative relationship based, data-driven and AI-assisted” as data and technology will only continue to play a bigger role.

Head to The Drum TV for highlights from the interviews with Boots, Red Havas and Meltwater, and download this free report on Klear’s Impact on ROI for Agencies here.

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Omnichannel Creative Technology Brand Strategy

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Klear A meltwater Offering

Klear, a Meltwater company, is the leading influencer marketing platform. We help brands and agencies build, scale, and measure successful influencer marketing programs....

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