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The digital marketing landscape has changed rapidly since the days of AOL, but one thing hasn’t changed: the best way to deliver targeted ads to your audience is still through your own agency.
And for some people, this agency-led approach is the only way to go.
A report released by the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICTS) this week suggests that, while most people use digital marketing to build their brands and drive sales, there are a few people who do just that, but choose not to use an agency.
ICTS researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 marketers across Canada to determine which agency-focused marketing tools are worth investing in, and found that the best online marketing tool to start with is the agency tool, especially when it comes to targeting and social sharing.
“The agency market has been on a lot of upswing in recent years and it’s been really great for the industry,” said ICS co-founder and CEO Tom Gorman.
“But as a marketer, I think a lot needs to be said about what’s best for you and your business.”
The research also found that, with the exception of social media, the majority of respondents chose an agency for their digital marketing.
“The majority of those respondents who said they would choose an agency said they’re currently using an agency to manage their marketing activities,” Gorman said.
Here’s how the study went: In the first part of the survey, we asked respondents how they would describe their agency. “
We also found there’s a lot that we can learn from the agencies that are doing this better.”
Here’s how the study went: In the first part of the survey, we asked respondents how they would describe their agency.
The majority of the respondents said they were working with a digital agency, and half said they used a agency.
One respondent in particular, a business owner who works for an agency, had a very specific reason for using an online agency.
“I work with agencies on a daily basis,” said the person, who wished to remain anonymous because she is currently working with an agency in a different market.
“Most people I know would say it’s not a bad thing to use your own business and work with an existing agency.
They’ve been there for a long time and they know what it takes to get a great result.”
In fact, most respondents said their first time using an ad agency was with the agency, but many of them were surprised at how much they enjoyed working with their own agency and how much it meant to them.
“There’s no doubt it was a huge learning experience for me.
It was a great learning experience, but also it was something I really enjoyed,” said one respondent, who had previously worked for a traditional agency.
“I feel like there’s so much more to do in terms of my digital marketing.”
Gorman, who founded ICTS and worked with Gartner for the past four years, said that the survey shows there’s no shortage of good online marketing agency tools.
“There’s definitely a huge opportunity out there for people,” he said.
“It’s important to realize that these tools can really help you with the process of getting the word out to your potential customers, and you can also do that without an agency.”
The report also found a clear trend in the survey: a growing number of marketers are opting to use agents to deliver their digital advertising.
More than two-thirds of respondents (65 per cent) said they now work with their agency to deliver digital advertising, up from 43 per cent in 2015.
“We’re seeing a lot more people using agents to manage digital marketing activities, and I think that’s good,” said Gorman, adding that agents can also help you build a brand without going through an agency or getting a traditional contract.
“And I think it’s also good that agents are coming out and saying, ‘We’re using your marketing platform.'”
ICSS is now working with agencies to better understand the market for digital marketing agents.
The report’s authors also noted that the market is rapidly changing, with more than a billion Americans using digital tools in 2016.
“It’s going to be very important for agents to understand that as the digital marketing environment changes, so do the digital advertising tools they’re using,” Gormans said.
With more and more consumers choosing to use agency-based marketing tools as the best option for their online marketing, Gorman is hoping to see more agents starting to embrace this type of online marketing approach.
“You need to be an agency first,” he explained.
“So if you’re using a marketing platform that you think is a good fit for you, and then you find an agency with a good agency-driven approach that’s better suited to your specific needs, you’re going to get more bang for your buck.”
For more from The Globe and Mail’s digital marketing tips column, click here.