Study: Clients Don’t Get Digital, Agencies Need Fire Lit Under Butts

By Matt Van Hoven 

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) recently completed a study the integration of traditional and digital media as it pertains to agencies and their clients. Bellwather Leadership Research & Development asked 294 marketers questions about the process of integration into digital. The results reiterate what we already know: the industry smokes really, really good weed and clients are happily unaware of their customers’ digital habits.

“The majority of client-side marketers (59 percent) are satisfied with their company’s progress with the integration of digital media (Internet, mobile, widgets, social media) and traditional media (TV, radio, print). However, the greatest challenge for marketers is the lack of metrics to properly allocate the mix of traditional and digital media. On the agency side, the key finding and frustration is that clients do not understand how customers use digital media.”

The Client Perspective
In addition to the lack of metrics, client-side marketers identified existing internal issues, which, listed in descending order from greatest to smallest challenge, are:

&#151 Key people at company (including senior management) lack understanding of digital media
&#151 Reluctance to move funds from “tried-and-true” practices of the past.
&#151 Internal organizational silos impede a focused enterprise-wide approach

The Agency Perspective
The top two agency challenges for integrating digital media into larger scale marketing programs were client-related and are:
&#151 A lack of client awareness about the benefits of developing a more integrated approach
&#151 A lack of client cooperation across their operating/divisional channels

The Suggested Solutions

Both advertisers and agencies had similar advice for integrating traditional and digital media:

&#151 Become as educated as possible on new/digital media
&#151 Set clear goals and understand business objectives up front
&#151 Understand your consumer
&#151 Be willing to test and learn
&#151 Integrate digital and traditional media
&#151 Commit to metrics and analytics
&#151 Put down the bong for a second and realize that the second you become “satisfied” with your company’s progress in the digital field that you’re already way behind the curve.

According to the ANA/AAAA, these findings are concurrent with a 2007 report entitled “Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010” which found that “over ninety percent of respondents indicated they planned to increase marketing spend in digital. Yet many identified significant barriers including: insufficient metrics (62 percent), lack of organization support (51 percent) or lack of experience (59 percent) in the new media.”

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