Do Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies? (my SXSW notes)

Below are my notes and audio I recorded during the panel “Do Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies?” at this week’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference. Feel free to leave a comment. More SXSW notes to come. (please note: I tried to capture as many points as possible, hence the shorthand and occasional misspelled word. Also, the audio is not the best quality)


Panel: Do Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies?

Speaker: Allison Mooney (@allimooney), Amanda Kelso, Matt Galligan (@mg), Rick Webb (@rickwebb), Robert Rasmussen (@robras), Ben Malbon

Twitter hash tag: #agileagency

Discussion is from Adage article “Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies

Contagious magazine quote by kemp-Robertson

Changing to agile marketing

Survey said 78%, yes

What do marketers need to know abt tech and who needs to know it?

Ppl that best implement strategy are usually trend translators in company

Traditional agencies hire translators but as deadlines approach they get left out

Then ppl at top start shooting themselves in foot by trying to do the translation job

Analogy abt army in Iraq where not everyone speaks Arabic

Agencies need to be realistic abt their tech abilities/understanding

It’s ok to have someone outside agency to help

Agencies shouldn’t pretend to be more tech savvy than they are

Liberate tech savvy ppl from being a specific department

Ux team needs to be more involved along project lifecycle

Traditional agency process has planners setting direction and creatives go “up on mountain” and come down with super solution

There shod be a person who keeps abreast of tech and comes back and disseminates to appropriate dept

Startups often don’t know who in the agency they need to talk to abt themselves

Agencies fetishiz what they don’t know yet re: new stuff

Agencies are always looking for new stuff, at a detriment to themselves

Working with tech cos, everyone knows tech talk, but not so with brands

Brands have host of non-tech related issues which affect project

Dave at Proctor and Gamble is the translator who goes out to engage tech cos

Nike took time to build their global tech platform to work across different departments

Nike’s creative platform works seamlessly

Nike worked to give consumers the Nike Plus platform which allowed co to enable campaigns on top of it

Tech cos have better idea of what they want

Tech cos know how to kill a product/campaign which agencies rarely do

It feels backwards to create campaign and immediately push to all channels

Iterative campaigns will become more popular

Allows agencies and brands to test campaigns before investing fully

Foursquare and Amex partnership is great example

With Foursquare, Amex built full platform to maintain a sustainable campaign

Nike Plus was iterative campaign

Campaign started as way to listen to music as you run

Campaign turned into a social aspect of running and having friends supporting you

Fred Williamson said in Huffinton Post, “I believe marketing is what companies do when the product sucks”

Marketing happens all the time and tech startups are missing that

Startups still think that the core product is all that matters

It’s important to have untethered creatives in all tech cos

They need someone who is a bit insane

Agencies are good at pushing in new directions

It’s easy for tech cos to ignore marketing when they have no competitors

Team structures in agencies need to evolve

Agencies always try to find ways to be relevant to brands, even when it involves building products

Some developers don’t like a lot of egos and there seems to be a lot of egos at agencies

Can be jarring when then work together

At times it becomes like the jocks vs the nerds

The way you structure your teams is very important