Digiday Agency Summit

By: Doug Pace - Bayshore Solutions Executive Team

Welcome from the Digiday Agency Summit in beautiful Deer Valley, Utah!  I am excited about this conference because it focuses on the development of the modern digital agency and the challenges that are associated.  With Bayshore Solutions growing at over 20% per year and in the mist of geographic expansion planning I look forward to the lessons that will be learned over the next 2 days.


1.     Pulsepoint Workshop

This workshop explored the movement of campaign managers from channel specialists to consumer specialists.  The concept is that consumers are channel agnostic and will interact with brands how they want and when they want.  The individual planning the campaign must take a cross channel view.  The brand must be viewed as a publisher and should start with content development.  Time must be taken to perform audience mapping to ensure the content is being consumed by the correct audience.  In summary – identify the consumer, create the content, map the channel path, and innovate.

2.     The View from the Top: Q&A with Clark Kokich, chairman, Razorfish

I had a chance to meet Clark at dinner the night before this discussion and felt that he was a very authentic individual.  He proved my assumption correct as he discussed the changes in the agency world over the last 5 years.  His message focused around the concept that agencies have moved away from just putting a message in front of a consumer to creating a brand experience for the consumer.

It’s no longer a channel up strategy, but it’s big idea planning. He used Vail Resorts “Epic Mix” campaign to prove his point.  The campaign integrated RFID with other channels in order to create a digital scrapbook of an individual’s visit to Vail.  The concept created a customized experience for each individual and positioned the brand within the consumers mind.

He established that digital agencies are in flux and currently struggle to define if they are going to be an idea shop v. a production shop and  “More money is flowing if it’s part of a big idea.”  This struggle comes from the inherent issue that digital is mired with one off campaigns resulting in less big ideas.  It is important to note that measurement is just as important in channel strategies as in a big idea – CMOs still need to see a definitive ROI.

3.     The Talent Wars

This segment included 2 panelists that discussed the current talent issues across the digital advertising spectrum.  The talent issues stems from the fact that most agencies are growing by more than 20% and individuals coming into the industry are limited.  The growth in companies and the static workforce results in the fact that we are all fishing in smaller ponds.  Both panelists represented international companies and said the crisis is largest in Australia where it is commonly known you only have 48 hours to make a hire or the individual will be recruited by another company.

The discussion continued to dissect what employees are looking for and why they choose certain companies.  The consensus was that people wanted to work on something that was meaningful and that made a difference.  They also wanted their work to be recognized by the companies, their peers, and the industry as a whole.  The conversation drifted to the freedom that Google provides in working on individual projects – both panelists agreed that this is almost impossible in the agency world because of the billable hour and client deliverable expectations.

4.     The Innovation Challenge

Every agency seems to have a challenge in balancing client deliverables, financial expectations, and staying innovative.  The discussion started down the path of product innovation, but was quickly quelled by some of the panelists that explained that an agency is not set up properly for the development of products that are not directly related to a client deliverable.  An agency is a service company and innovation is more of a “way of thinking” rather than the development of IP not associated with a client.  Many of the larger agencies have addresses this by spinning off product companies within their parent holding companies.  If you must play in the product innovation area, make sure it’s to develop prototypes for existing client accounts.

5.     Digiday Dialog with Clickable: What Keeps Agencies Up At Night

The main goal for most agencies should be to demonstrate transparency and ROI associated with campaigns so that their client has clout in front of the CFO.  In order to accomplish this goal the agencies must connect metrics from disparate channels and become a real time analytics expert.  The session referenced the earlier discussions in the fact that agencies must become less channel specific and most focused on the integrated campaign – just because the final conversion came from a certain source does not necessarily mean that that source was solely responsible.  The discussion continues to dissect some specific channels, but it was very high level and highly opinionated - someone mention that social was 99% Facebook, Twitter was miniscule, and Google + was not a social channel; this started a heated exchange.

6.     Media Buying 2.0

The objective of media buying has shifted over the last few years and now is focused on creating an immersive brand experience.  The media is just the end channel and it should be part of a larger story combining content and creative. The absence of standards to combine analytic data and latency of reporting continue to be issues.  The latency is being addressed by most platforms, but standards are nowhere in the near future.

7.     Pecha Kucha Presentations

Attribution, Attribution, Attribution.  A Pecha Kucha presentation is intended to be very quick and allow an individual to explain their position on a topic.  In this case the individual focused on the topic of attribution and defining where a lead really came from.  In short the last event that is tracked to a lead is not necessarily where it came from.  Agencies need to work to consolidate analytics from different sources and decrease reporting latency to give an accurate picture.

Email is not dead.  This Pecha Kucha investigated the popularity of email and its presence across multiple channels.  168 million emails are sent per minute, 25 minutes of every mobile hour is spent on email, and it takes an average person 28 seconds to interact with each email.  Because of the interaction time display advertising in email proves to be very effective.  When branded skins are applied to standard industry content the effectiveness is multiple times better.