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How Brands and Agencies Can Work Together to Accelerate Growth

As brands navigate the path to the new normal, agencies can become strategic allies to help them embrace digital transformation. Three opportunities to strengthen the relationship between brands and agencies.

In 2020, the health, economic and social crises disrupted all of our plans. And this reality, which intensified the importance of digital marketing to drive growth in the face of an uncertain reality, led brands and agencies to change the way they interact. Those who learned to work and transform together not only weathered the storm, they grew stronger.

Understanding the needs of the other and knowing how to respond to them in a timely manner was, perhaps, the greatest learning that the pandemic left so far. And this lesson can be reflected in the link between agencies and brands: the great challenge that is presented to the former is to support companies where they need it most, together, to achieve business results and accelerate growth in 2021.

At this time, agencies can become true strategic partners for brands, as it is they who can help them keep up with the rapid acceleration of digital transformation. Here are 3 ways brands and agencies can work together to boost growth.

1. Accelerate through automation

Few brands consider themselves good at using automation and machine learning for marketing, according to the study. In fact, only 36% of Mexican brands say that they are somewhat or very effective in taking advantage of automation technologies in marketing and advertising aspects.2 However, agencies have been quicker to establish the connection between these technologies and the profitability, so they can help brands implement automation in all their marketing processes and provide them with relevant, real-time, and actionable information so that they can respond quickly to changes in consumer behavior and, thus, drive business results and increase digital ROI.

2. Deepen specific services

Aligning marketing strategies with the business objectives of brands is one of the fundamental challenges of 2021. And, in the face of the marked digital advance, the secret of success lies in the data. Yet more than 4 in 10 brands find it difficult to translate those insights into action.3 Brands need to partner with agencies that provide them with relevant, real-time, actionable information to act quickly. The great opportunity for agencies lies in investing more in knowledge, measurement, and creative services, to better address the needs of their clients. In an ever-changing world, agencies become curators of knowledge that help brands make sense of data so it can be transformed into action.

3. Expand e-commerce services

We know that one of the consequences of the pandemic was the increase in electronic commerce - in 2020, online retail sales experienced a growth rate of 27.6% worldwide4 - and, as a consequence, brands were forced to increase their dependence on digital technology. To be competitive in such a dynamic environment, knowing the customer journey is essential. However, according to the study, many agencies (33% Mexico, 30% Brazil) find obstacles when measuring and analyzing the data because not all companies have resources that know how to facilitate access.5 Here lies another of the Strengths of agencies, being able to offer specific services - such as analytics, measurement, attribution, first-party audiences, and personalized creatives on a large scale - that support the e-commerce needs of brands. By the way, the agencies expect that the demand for e-commerce will accelerate and that their offer of this service will increase by 93% shortly.

Clearly, now more than ever, brands need strategic partners like agencies to keep up with the relentless digital acceleration. With the consumer at the center of all decisions, the success of this link seems to be absolutely linked to permanent innovation and the ability to develop new solutions. This is the right time for agencies to invest in technology and talent, and for brands to empower them by sharing first-hand data with them. Together they can be prepared for whatever 2021 has in store for them.

By Pablo Castellanos and Bruno Cicero

Sources: Forrester Consulting, Thought Leadership Executive Summary, commissioned by Google, n = 306 marketing decision-makers in companies working with digital media agencies and 277 decision-makers in agencies, Mexico, October 2020.

4 eMarketer, eCommercepromptly Retail Sales Worldwide, 2019-2024, December 2020.

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