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Market automation will (and is already) changing the role of a communications agency in significant ways. Marketers that want to be effective and generate above average returns on investment will need to both invest in automated tools and deploy them effectively. 

Most companies already have a growing collection of tools designed to improve their marketing and sales game. But too often in the ‘real world’ deployment of these resources is hampered by poor communications between departments. The sales team uses Salesforce to keep records of client and products. But these same records aren’t linked to a CRM-system that’s used for direct marketing efforts from the marketing team. 

Meanwhile data available on both platforms isn’t shared with the agenda responsible for optimising web traffic. When new visitors arrive the interaction isn’t ideal for neither the visitor nor the company. 

Throw in this mix an intern that uses Hootsuite or one of the other (free) software tools to schedule and manage social media and the media relations team that uses their own provider to monitor the media and suddenly you can see why information isn’t unified. You can also also why it’s common to hear employees tell their bosses they are ‘too busy with technology to be more effective.’ But the fact is with this approach there’s hardly any value to extract from the data. 

There is a solution. Modern communications professionals are able to bring a rational and unified approach to marketing automation. Integrated agencies such as Cognito have experience across a variety of platforms throughout our client portfolio. Experience with many systems provides a unique perspective on what works and what does not.

A modern and professional agency will have a dialogue with their clients on how to support the strategy of the organization. This conversation must zoom in on effectiveness and robustness. You want something that does the job today, also will function in the long run so it was worth the investment. As information technology is at the heart of every organization these days that conversation must focus on information and on the flow of data.

There will also be a need for creativity and savvy tactical deployment. But all of this must be underpinned by an approach that keeps the flow of data front and centre. This will in turn ensure data becomes knowledge about clients, insight on prospects, and fuel for sales. 

More and more companies approach agency teams to consult and support on marketing and other communications technology. Like to benefit from the hands-on experience the agency has in this field. That means that apart from offering traditional creative and consulting communication services agencies will be asked to support their clients with implementation and even day-to-day management of such systems. Agencies will be able, based on this experience, to assist corporates both to select the right IT-tools and advice on implementation.

Clients benefit from the experience and industry insights their agency offers. The team of the agency can actually make a difference when implementing or enhancing the IT tooling for a better marketing ‘bang for the buck.’

Richard Neve is the managing director of Cognito’s Amsterdam office