In an age where speed is everything, we need to influence change from the outside in, says OMD UAE’s CEO, Nadim Samara
The days of marketers enjoying a linear influence on consumer habits are long gone. We live in a hyper-connected world where technology has sped everything up to such a degree that instant access to information, entertainment, goods or services – all within a great user interface – is not only desired but expected. Retaining consumer loyalty, therefore, has become more of a challenge, as marketers seek to anticipate their next move and tailor their strategies accordingly.
Anticipation, however, is only half of the equation. We must acknowledge the role that the consumer now actively plays in this circle of change. While we continue to deploy new technology to help create individually tailored experiences to attract and retain users, they will continue to raise the bar with their expectations and change the way they use technology to express themselves.
It then becomes more about how we as an industry can keep on driving results with these ever-shifting goal posts. Our strategies need to remain agile to react to a specific trend, accounting for consumer influence and taking a more ‘outside-in’ approach to increase visibility and stimulate growth.
Looking at the way in which we operate across the board is key to implementing this agility. Separate planning and buying divisions no longer work because there needs to be singular accountability towards a brand’s performance, and the dual decision-making process and its effect need to be eliminated. The introduction of strategic marketing investors (SMIs) at OMD reflects this new approach, enabling the fusion of the two roles into one and encouraging a deeper level of singular accountability.
Essentially, we are eschewing the separation between agency and clients, focusing instead on becoming an extension of our clients’ marketing teams. Armed with a deeper knowledge of the clients’ business operations and ambitions, we can then anticipate and predict consumer trends in real-time, with a focused understanding of delivery and impact. This is especially important given the increased attention to making sure every dollar is accounted for and its return measured in tangible terms.
SMIs need to be holistically answerable to the client, not only keeping an eye on their brands’ bottom lines but managing them as well, producing dyamic strategic marketing investment plans. Partnering with data and digital analytics specialists like Moat and identifying, with other key industry players, more robust ways to quantify digital allows us to build a more accurate data set from which to work.
As we streamline this data to create targeted audiences and personalised experiences at scale, innovation and aligned partnerships play an ever more important role. Working with consultancies and start-ups to identify ways to collaborate and enhance our clients’ offering also allows us to broaden our range of services, specialties and – therefore – influence. This integration of the breadth (general) and depth (specific) of our industry is more imperative today than ever before.
For his 2017 Power Essay in Campaign magazine, Nadim Samara, CEO of OMD UAE (Omnicom Media Group) examines this shift in detail, considering the complexities we will need to adapt and embrace to shape the agency of the future. Read the full article here.