Six ways for marketers and agencies to have a happy 2014

Stuart Pocock: outlining hopes for the new year
Stuart Pocock: outlining hopes for the new year

At this time of year, with Christmas around the corner, hope is a common theme in the festive work created by our industry, writes Stuart Pocock, managing partner at intermediary Roth Observatory International.

With the John Lewis hare hoping his bear friend will wake up in time for the big day, and sister company, Waitrose, hoping to boost its local community fundraising with its festive TV campaign, it’s maybe time to hold out some hope for the industry too.

So these are my six ‘Hopes for Christmas’, which could more than likely lead to a happy and harmonious New Year for all.

I hope that agencies and clients make an effort to understand each others’ day jobs: We could all do with imagining life in each other’s shoes from time to time. By really appreciating the daily pressures, responsibilities, and expertise of the people we work with, we might just develop more productive working relationships, smoother processes, and, above all, effective campaigns.

I hope that clients can see their agencies as business partners, not suppliers: Working with an agency – be it advertising or digital, mobile or PR – means partnering with a team of experts. But all too often these relationships are rather one-sided. Businesses, in the widest sense need to recognise their agencies’ expertise, listen to their advice, and motivate all to work together towards a common goal.

I hope that more clients and agencies realise the need to reflect the ever-changing world of communications in their internal structures: The ways people communicate are complex and fluctuating, and they will not shape themselves to agency or client processes – no matter how hard we try. Businesses need to adapt themselves to reflect the reality of communications. Only then can truly integrated, engaging, and relevant communications be created.

I hope that digital does not always dominate: Broadcast, print, and outdoor still have significant roles to play, and will continue to do so. The whole is the sum of its parts, and we should be careful not to miss the opportunities each channel represents – especially when part of something bigger – by assuming digital is the strongest option.

I hope that briefs and timescales become more honest and realistic: Without a full and candid brief and reasonable timelines, keeping every party happy can never be achieved. Only by being sensible with each other, and recognising what’s truly needed to get the job done – and done well – can expectations be met, and preferably exceeded.

I hope that more marketers are given a voice at board level: Marketers may hold more boardroom positions than they’ve ever done historically, but there is still a long way to go before their strategic importance is fully recognised at the highest levels. I hope marketers are increasingly given a voice and authority to drive forward integral marketing decisions.

The more enlightened are turning some of these hopes into reality, and will reap their just rewards in the coming year. 

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