Small agencies stay positive while taking on debt: Thursday’s daily brief
Plus, who is your ideal MarTech keynote speaker?
Good morning, Marketers, and please accentuate the positive.
Granted we can’t entirely eliminate the negative yet. Recovery — economic, but health and wellness too — is discernible, but it’s not evenly distributed, and it’s not hard to see bumps in the road ahead.
In particular, I don’t think we’ve fully digested the permanent changes in the way we work (at least those of us, including marketers and journalists of course, who work at desks). Note the trend among small agencies, noted in the transformation story below, to turn their backs on brick and mortar offices for good. It’s not hard to predict a similar trend across a wide range of businesses — certainly the small to medium-sized ones — and the foreseeable damage to the commercial real estate market will have knock-on effects, not least to the countless business and services built to support high density working populations in city centers.
We’ve also yet to come to terms with the idea of working remotely indefinitely. For a year? Look, we did it. But for two years? Five years? Well, that’s down the road. As I said at the start, let’s celebrate the positive for now.
The pros and cons of specializing in specific martech products
Martech practitioners specialize in specific products. That’s not news. Further, it makes sense for people to learn how to really use a specific platform well. However, that’s not always ideal when putting together a team.
In his latest article, written from a practitioner’s perspective, Steve Petersen, marketing technologist at WGU, considers the pros and cons of solution specialization. What happens when two stacks need to be integrated following a merger or acquisition, and stakeholders want to cling to their preferred tools for the same tasks? Should MOPs professionals feel threatened when asked to learn a new product? Should employers recruit with one product in mind?
“It’s important to note that practitioners specializing and investing in products is not bad at all, in and of itself,” Petersen writes. “That shouldn’t come at the expense of keeping track of broader trends and developing portable skills that are valuable regardless of the particular product in question.”
Your ideal keynote speaker: Who do you want to see at MarTech?
When attending an event, what do you expect to get out of the keynote presentation? That’s a question event content managers often want to know the answer to. I think of a keynote speaker as someone who gets you to think on a higher level about things that might not be possible today but something to set our sights on for the future. In some cases, it’s exciting to hear from a speaker on an unrelated topic who is simply meant to inspire and get you thinking more creatively.
However, I often see feedback from attendees who prefer to get more tactical or actionable advice from a keynote presenter just like a regular conference session. With the planning of the fall MarTech event (September 14-15, 2021) underway I’m thinking about keynote speakers again and I’d really like to hear from you. What would you like to get out of a keynote presentation and is there someone specific you’d like to hear speak. Let me know at email@example.com
CTV momentum builds, study shows
About 72% of U.S. digital advertising professionals believe that connected TV ads reach target audiences more effectively than linear TV. That’s according programmatic video platform Tremor Video, which just released a new study focusing on CTV, in partnership with ad platform Unruly and business consultant MTM Global. The results came in from upwards of 200 brands and agencies.
Additional findings include:
- 85% of those surveyed say CTV is a key part of their video advertising strategy (90% of media agencies and 75% of brand advertisers);
- 90% of respondents plan to increase their 2021 CTV budgets, with an average increase of 53%;
- 56% of media agency respondents and 37% of brand advertiser respondents predict that more than half of their video budgets will be spent on CTV in 2021 and
- 75% of respondents believe that CTV has been more important to their business’ marketing success during the COVID-19 pandemic
Why we care. This confidence from marketers is in part due to the data collaborations adtech players in the CTV space have been building. The fact that 37% of brands predict that CTV will be half their budgets this year actually under-sells the migration from linear TV because CTV, OTT and streaming inventory is more targeted and less dependent on big ad spends. The premium content on linear, including flagship live events and sports programming, is also increasingly available through digital TV services.
Small agencies maintain positive outlook while taking on debt
Mailchimp, the integrated marketing platform for small businesses, yesterday released its 2021 benchmark report for small (under $1 million) agencies. Overall, the outlook in the space was positive, with 50% reporting increased revenues, 22% growing their teams in 2020 and 75% with recruitment plans for 2021.
This came at a price, however, with small agencies taking on additional financing to avoid being on the brink of bankruptcy (36%) or going out of business altogether (29%). And some things have changed permanently, with large numbers of agencies prepared to give up on the physical office for good: over 60% said they would recruit staff outside commuting distance.
The report was based on a survey of 1,700 agency employees across over 40 countries. Katie Lambert, Senior Manager, Partner Program Marketing at Mailchimp told us: “We created this report after hearing over and over again from small agencies that their best teachers are their peers. We were overwhelmed by the level of detail they were willing to share about their finances, the best ways to find new business, and how they fared during 2020.”
Why we care: It looks like smaller agencies were prepared to roll the dice in 2020, taking on higher debt to continue to stay in business. The gamble is apparently paying off with increased revenues and growing teams.
Quote of the day
“Guess what? The future is now! Things are changing with immense speed after 2020, and C-suites are actively looking for business leaders who happen to be great marketers.” Mark Stouse, CEO, Proof Analytics