Report: Brand/agency partnerships in jeopardy from customer data and martech challenges

Latest report from Forbes Insights and Oracle Marketing Cloud shows brand and agency partnerships have evolved significantly over the past two years but must transform even more

Challenges around customer data collaboration and utilisation, content personalisation and marketing technology are creating issues between brands and their agency partners and triggering a shake-up of relationships, a new survey claims.

According to the report, The Age of Brand, Agency and Customer Collaboration: 4 Keys to Success in Translating Marketing Visions Into More Engaged Customers, produced by Forbes Insights in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud, half of respondents said evolving brand and agencies roles are making success collaboration more difficult.

The findings were based on a survey of 255 brand and agency executives across several regions including Asia-Pacific.

The report found 60 per cent of respondents have seen their roles and responsibilities change significantly over the past two years, a fact that has had negative implications on customer experience and business results for a number of reasons.

A key one is delivering a consistent customer experience. In the report, 36 per cent of respondents said their organisations aren’t highly effective when it comes to collaborating with brand/agency counterparts to translate a marketing vision into a targeted, cross-channel program.

In addition, 38 per cent said they are not able to effectively create and deliver timely content tailored to specific customer personas, and 81 per cent said they’re unable to maximise customer data to create new and impactful marketing programs.

Just 19 per cent of respondents are also happy with their current utilisation of marketing technology. Notably, 57 per cent said they plan to make new technology investments in the next year.

“As the nature of marketing continues to change, closer collaboration between brands and agencies is becoming more important than ever,” said Forbes Media chief insights officer and head of CMO Practice, Bruce Rogers.

“Progressive marketing leaders within brands across the world have identified this change and are embracing new and closer working relationships. At the heart of these efforts is a drive to effectively gather and mine rich sources of customer data.”

On the list of strategic goals for respondents over the next 12 months are increasing sales and attracting new customers (80 per cent), followed by enhancing customer loyalty (79 per cent) and expanding brand awareness (78 per cent).

To achieve these goals, 60 per cent said closer brand and agency collaboration would become even more important, with capitalise on customer data and analytics the top priority.

Oracle VP of marketing, Andrea Ward, said marketers have access to more customer data and marketing technology than at any point in history.

“But as this study shows, fully capitalising on that data and the promise of technology is still a challenge for many brands and agencies,” she said. “To unlock this potential, brands and agencies need to rethink existing roles, responsibilities and processes in order to successfully mine all of today’s rich data sources, capitalise on the latest marketing technologies, enhance professional and personal skills, and balance local and global imperatives.”

Respondents were also asked to identify key roadblocks in better brand/agency collaboration. Top on the list was insufficient report of results to help gauge effectiveness of programs (28 per cent), followed by lack of training and skill development for fully utilising marketing technologies (26 per cent).

When asked what types of digital technologies are currently supporting customer acquisition and engagement, respondents highlighted social as the leading platform (52 per cent), followed by Web and Web analytics (49 per cent), digital advertising (43 per cent), marketing automation systems (37 per cent) and multichannel campaign management (35 per cent).

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