Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Marketing Agency 2.0?

While reading Tim O’Reilly’s brilliant article “What is Web 2.0” ( where he summarizes the fundamentals of the concept of Web 2.0 (for which he is one of the original co-creators), one thought stuck with me: There seems to be an apparent lack of marketing agencies who try to align themselves with the fundamentals of Web 2.0. Some agencies try to incorporate Web 2.0 values into their Digital work but only a few attempt to harness the “Web 2.0” fundamentals beyond the Digital space into the core value proposition of their work. I strongly believe that Web 2.0 has implications for the whole value creation of marketing agencies, not just for the Digital side of the business.

Let me summarize the key Web 2.0 fundamentals that Tim so eloquently describes:
  • Services not packaged software
  • Control over unique data sources that get richer as more people use them
  • Trusting users as co-developers
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
  • Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Lightweight user interfaces, development models, and business models

Having experienced in my career the beauty and pain of both software-as-a-service firms as well as traditional marketing solution agencies, I think we marketers can distill a few key components by translating Tim’s Web 2.0 elements into our service centric world of marketers. Let me try this:
A Marketing Agency 2.0 needs to:

  • Distribute problem solving beyond its traditional internal functional silos (e.g. Planning, Creative, Data) and outside its own employee base to leverage the Collective Intelligence of its employees, clients, and consumers
  • Create Marketing Solutions that are beyond traditional central controlled and time bound campaigns or programs (Not just brands have lost control, the agencies, too) to enable the consumer participation and improvement of marketing solution throughout the life cycle of marketing ideas, brands, concepts and beyond
  • Put Data as an expression of Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors in the center of every marketing strategy and tactic. Data is not the cold number expression of some analytical geeks but is the “Intelligence Inside” of every marketing thought.

Marketing Solutions providers who embrace these core elements and change their overall value production will be not just active participants in the Web 2.0 universe but will change the marketing landscape within and beyond the Digital sphere. Marketing firms who follow this path can claim the “2.0” brand.


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