Survey: Marketers Top 10 Wish List For Ad Agencies of the Future

Digital marketing is thriving during the recession. Clients are switching agencies based on digital marketing knowledge. Traditional agencies need to be competent at digital marketing now.

Forrester’s recent projections of interactive marketing spend through 2014 show social media increasing at an average of 34% year over year.

A national survey  provides insight into what marketers want from their agencies. The Agency of the Future Survey, sponsored by Sapient. Though this survey was conducted just over a year ago, it is a perceptual look back as well as a look forward and still has relevance for agencies today.

The survey polled more than 200 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing professionals, all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for managing digital marketing budget allocation across multiple channels.

Based on the survey results, Sapient, created aTop 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future:

  1. A greater knowledge of digital space
  2. More use of “pull interactions”
  3. Leverage virtual communities
  4. Agency executives using the technology they are recommending
  5. Chief Digital Officers make agencies more appealing
  6. Social media savvy
  7. Agencies that understand consumer behavior
  8. Demonstrate strategic thinking
  9. Branding and creative capabilities
  10. Ability to measure success

Tim Williams, author of Take A Stand For Your Brand, encourages agency execs to assure their personal relevance in the marketing communications industry.  He writes,

“Increasingly clients are turning to agencies not only for help but for thought leadership in digital marketing, and only the most progressive agencies are in a position to deliver it.  Agency principals recognize the urgency and importance of the shift to digital, but are personally unprepared for the change.”

Tim suggests a solution to the problem: Create a self-study program that provides a fast track understanding of digital marketing and adapting your agency to the new digital landscape.

He says, “Think about the digitally-talented people you know and you’ll realize most of them are self-taught. They took an interest in digital and learned it on their own. You can do the same, especially because everything you need to know about digital is online, and most of it is free at sites ranging from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to ClickZ.”

Additional “digital” related articles that may be of interest:


About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Here’s a different view on effective digital marketing.

    1. I assume that the human nature hasn’t changed after we invented the internet. (The web has only been around 15 years or so.)

    2. If it’s true that people haven’t dramatically changed in less than 20 years, why not use techniques which have been successful for decades in getting people respond to marketers?

    – Why not study and use these methods that focus on creating a relationship with a customer?

    – Why not learn from the people who know how to build a database of customer behavior information and knows how to use it for digital marketing?

    3. Now here’s the scary part. The disciple that I’m talking about is Direct Marketing. If you want get ahead of your competition who are still wondering how to use internet for selling things, direct marketing is your answer. Or you can continue wandering in the dark looking for knowledge on how to get people interact with marketers…

    The choice is yours.


    Timo Jäppinen

  2. Timo, Good points. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beth M. Wood says:

    Great article. Agencies must not only be digital-savvy, but have traditional marketing experience and a firm understanding of a brand’s strategy, objectives and personality. This list confirms that a good left brain/right brain mix is the key to marketing success.

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