The Social Agency Ecosystem

As the work we do becomes more and more social – even to the extent that it is ‘social by design’ I set out the other day to try and define the structure of the ecosystem in which agencies exist, to be able to define an efficient MO for what are now termed as social campaigns.

I got as far as the visual below, and stopped. Now I am no infographic expert (as the drawing plainly shows) but what I hope is clear is that as campaigns become social the complexity, and number of players needed for success, evolves exponentially.

So let us take a step back and look at how things work today.

Creative agencies – work on a client brief to come up with ideas that can work across a number of different media, and then set about executing images, films, interactive apps, etc.

Media agencies – work on the client brief to find the right contact points between the target audience and a creative idea and develop plans accordingly.

These two pieces are the key pillars of a campaign operation – everything else, the website, CRM plans, instore marketing, PR and customer services have to adapt themselves around the campaign and work with it.

In today’s new social environment it isn’t quite so simple.

As we move from interruption to engagement, as a very basic first step, we need the skills of creativity and media under the same roof – a case in point are the newest form of Facebook advertising, sponsored stories, which allow community managers to amplify the conversation.

I have also already underlined the importance of data, as we move into social campaigns, it is no longer enough to issue reports once a month, but more critical to have access to real-time dashboards that can allow us to tweak the communications as they run. Advertising and marketing have become part of the social world and as such have gained a life of their own, they are organic and must be managed.

So in the absence of an info graphic that can properly tell the story, my recommendation is to make sure you have all the players on the same page and working together if you want to experience the real success of social marketing.

By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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