Picture: REUTERS/James Akena
Picture: REUTERS/James Akena

The evolution of the marketing structure was happening at a pace in line with customer demand and brand response. Then came the revolution that is Covid-19, forcing marketers to deep-clean their ecosystem rapidly.

Part of the revolution involves “right-housing”, the process of reviewing your internal and external capabilities as well as those of the agencies you work with, to determine overlaps and efficiencies.

Most SA marketers are working with an average of four agencies, but in some cases the number rises to 10 and occasionally more, as shown in the Agency Scope 2019 study conducted by Scopen. However, the cost of Covid is not only financial – it has left various departments understaffed and the result is pockets of inefficiencies.

To mitigate this, a rigorous and unemotional audit is required. Right-housing is designed to strengthen your efficacy in the market by creating a new ecosystem that focuses on future-proofing your business, while simplifying structures to shed excess costs.

Marketers must take the lead in right-housing, starting with absolute clarity on which agency performs what tasks – even more important now with the added complexity of including Google and social media partners in the mix. It is, I believe, the kick-off point and is important enough to bring in specialists to assist. If you are right-housing to ensure longevity of your ecosystem, doing it right the first time is imperative.

The job to be done by right-housing

In working with marketers and agencies over the years and studying how an ecosystem needs to adapt to non-negotiable brand requirements, the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) is mindful that a strong brand is one that influences every part of the consumer experience.

This requires communications, creative capital, agility and flexibility, as well as the ability to collate data and turn it into action. Right-housing these functions means briefing the lead, PR, digital, BTL, ATL and all other agencies to ensure their specific disciplines add value and do not overlap with other providers.

To combat inefficiencies, the brief must be crystal clear. Once each task is housed in the right place for the job, the result must give the client more control over speed of delivery, quality of work and value for spend.

It’s a well-known fact that the strongest brands are those where there is an obsessive focus on the customer, and all agency activity is pulling in the same direction. In an industry already very different from this time last year, we can’t afford to do a spring-clean and call it right-housing.

The old model of a structured marketing calendar is redundant in a world where change is as fast as the click of a mouse. The time taken from brief to completion is quicker, and the cost to client must be based in genuine return on investment in a tightened-belt market.

The ecosystem must change and it’s very likely that yours is also undergoing a significant shift. Get expert talent auditing assistance where necessary and – importantly – any time you hear “But we’ve always done it that way”, run.

  • Johanna McDowell is CEO of IAS.

 

The big take-out:

As we move into an era where the structured marketing calendar is redundant, agility means ‘quick as the click of a mouse’ and right-housing is key for reducing inefficiencies and costs, marketers need a clean-up of their ecosystems if they are to meet the future with the best possible teams and abilities.

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