The link we discussed (www.forrester.com/connectedagency) now directs visitors to the main report page, where Forrester clients can log in and download the report, or non-clients can purchase a copy for $279.
* 2008 to 2009: The agency involves the community. Even in 2007, agencies and marketers began to reach out to consumers: Chanel worked with viral agency BuzzParadise to tap select bloggers for participation in special events and to receive insider brand news; Publicis launched a blogger advertising network, with the twist that amateurs create the ads. Agencies need to keep consumers involved consistently and begin to build a specialization in specific target markets or with communities based on the brands with which they are working. Where’s the money? Brands will pay a premium for the high conversion rates that the agency can guarantee based on its community insights.
* 2010 to 2012: The agency promotes the community. Agencies focus dedicated teams on creating direct relationships with tightly defined communities. At shops like Leo Burnett, job titles shift from account manager to community animator. Media fragmentation, communities embodying multiple personas, and niche brands offer a rich opportunity for agencies to compile distinct portfolios of closely knit consumers, uncovered by disparate data sources. Much like a talent or sports agent, the community animator will begin promoting its own communities to compatible brands, rather than the reverse. Agencies will take the place of gatekeeper to those communities, and brands will need to pay to get in. By 2010, brands like BMW will have realized that mass marketing is over and that access to influencers is the way forward.
* 2013 on: The agency is part of the community. Agency staff will draw closer to the communities they interact with and ultimately become part of the community itself. Fast-forward to the future: The successful agency has intimate involvement with community members as an external mouthpiece and internal catalyst. This bond allows the agency team to “age” with its community, brokering relationships with new brands as the community’s needs change. Large groups like JWT will scale by managing a kaleidoscope of different consumer groups, introducing and handing off appropriate brands as communities evolve. Advertisers will consolidate business with agencies that can adeptly accompany brands throughout their life cycle within diverse consumer communities.