An Observation on the Advertising Agency Industry – Part 1: The Future User

This post is part 1 in a two-part series on the advertising agency space. The second blog will be posted next week.

Long gone are the days of Don Draper, to the dismay of many Jon Hamm fans, and the advertising agency as we once knew it. The advertising world is constantly morphing due to the launch of new technology, the increased access to analytics, and the sophistication of marketing techniques. As a result, many agencies have transformed their service offerings and marketing methods to stay ahead of the curve. But how are these agencies transforming? By building a customer acquisition model to support the future user.

The Future User of Agency Services

A good customer acquisition model must include, at a minimum, the following two variables:

  1. Offering the right services
  2. Offering the right experience

You must be able to accurately define what your users want to buy and what experience they want to have. To do so, start by building your user personas. Personas will help you paint a picture of your target customer by identifying personal and professional traits and what causes them to engage and make decisions. Once agencies can understand the basic needs of their user, they will be one step closer to developing an effective customer acquisition strategy that these customers will react to. Through user analysis, agencies may even be able to predict what trends will erupt due to the needs of the user. But, we need to take it one step further.

Agencies need to apply that same methodology to future users, not today’s users. If agencies ignore their future user, even unintentionally, they may be handicapping their potential growth.

The Millennial Marketing Professional

As with many industries, I believe the future user of agency services is a millennial. Not surprising. Specifically, I believe these users are today’s marketing associates and managers. Their titles may change as the marketing org chart changes, but their need for agency services will not. If agencies consider millennial needs, they may be one step closer to developing an effective future business model.

Micah Solomon wrote a great article on millennial needs back in November 2015 on Forbes. His three key considerations can be summarized here:

  • “Millennials demand self-service, algorithmically, and crowdsourced customer service options.”
  • “Paradoxically, millennial customers also crave a true, authentic, personalized experience as customers.”
  • “Social consumption is the norm in tandem with social decision-making as to whether or not to consume.”

Additionally, USC Dornsife created a telling infographic on marketing to millennials. The infographic reiterates the need for an online, social, and personalized experience.

If you want to target millennial users, here are some questions to start answering right away:

  1. How easy can users research, compare, and select agency services online?
  2. Is the online experience personalized? (There are plenty of tools and/or content creation techniques to leverage.)
  3. How well are you using your existing client base or social platforms to help buyers understand your agency’s quality and skill?

Learn more about my personal observations along with ways the agency industry can transform to capture the millennial audience in Part 2. Stay tuned!