2020 is full of challenges and opportunities for independent agencies.

Project-based contracts are increasing in popularity, giving indies the chance to win more business, while brands continue to shift core skills and expertise in-house.

In this competitive landscape, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd.

This means developing a much deeper understanding of the consumers you’re targeting, and shaping a strategy accordingly. Here’s how.

Key challenges facing independent agencies

1. Competing against agency networks.

Competition from large agencies is nothing new to indies, but there are more opportunities than ever to stand out and land significant contracts.

The ongoing shift towards project-based contracts is giving indies the chance to catch a brand’s eye when looking to finalize their next project.

Flexibility and the ability to make changes in line with fast-moving consumer trends is where indies have an advantage over bigger players.

Richard Exon, Founder of Joint London, says, “15 years ago, your independent agencies were private versions of the publicly-owned or holding company-owned agencies. Today, all our businesses are different in type, specialism and expertise. Huge diversification means we can compete with holding companies for different clients on different briefs.”

2. Having less resource than key competitors.

Since indie agencies often have less resource available to them than their bigger counterparts, it’s crucial to allocate it where it counts.

Today, you can’t know whether a creative idea will work unless you’ve based it on accurate research that has come directly from the consumers you’re targeting.

Knowing how consumers will respond to a campaign before launch is a sure way to streamline spend and improve ROI.

3. Gaining client trust without a big reputation or rich history.

A long-standing challenge for independent agencies has been competing with the sometimes decades-long history and relationships big agency network can have.

But the attitude towards indies may be changing.

Andrew Roberts, Founder of agency Gravity Thinking, says, “There is a growing confidence in indie agencies from a senior level, those who, rather than seeing smaller agencies as a risk, see them as the opposite of that. They see the potential to a business, the benefit of more agility and access to senior expertise.”

How to meet these challenges head-on.

The answer for independent agencies looking to become more strategically sound in 2019 lies in placing a renewed focus on consumer-centricity.

A truly consumer-centric strategy doesn’t rely solely on educated assumption or past experience, but looks to the consumers themselves for direction and inspiration.

Insight of this kind comes from access to modern data that goes far beyond traditional measurements, allowing users a full overview of consumers’ motivations along with their behaviors and demographic information.

With this kind of deep data at hand, it’s possible to become truly consumer-centric and reap the benefits.

Here’s how to do it.

Steps to nailing a consumer-centric strategy.

1. Look to good quality data.

Agencies of every size know the value of good quality consumer data.

Today, that means data you can trust – research that has been collected using a robust methodology and that goes deep enough to answer your most specific and tailored questions.

Here are just some of the things you can create using deep survey data to support and generate consumer-centric ideas.

  • Tailored consumer insights: Re-contact your target consumers using a single source of extensive survey data to cut to the chase and uncover insights tailored to your brief and objectives.
  • Detailed consumer journey maps: Consumer journey maps provide a detailed overview of the customer experience and the path to purchase. With granular data, you can create highly usable maps that will resonate with clients and strengthen campaigns.
  • Personalized campaigns: Today’s consumers expect personalization – and so do your clients. Use insight that translates a consumer’s behaviors, interests, attitudes and perceptions to tailor your campaigns to the right people, and make your programmatic advertising work as hard as it can.

2. Go from data to insight.

It’s not enough to simply have access to the best data available – you have to know what to do with it.

A good insight reveals something unique about your audience that you can tap into, be it a behavior, motivation or attitude. It can then be used throughout your strategy to not only confirm the validity of ideas, but generate them.

3. Pin down the most lucrative channels and messaging.

With this knowledge at hand, you can move to mapping out your target audience’s actions and the reasons behind them. Knowing their motivations means you can determine how to approach them and where, ensuring your client is always in front of the right eyes at every stage of the purchase journey.

4. Measure your success.

Determining the return on your efforts is crucial for anyone, especially agencies working under tight budget constraints and deadlines under constant pressure to justify their decisions and recommendations.

Solutions like GWIQ Analytics couple extensive panel data with real-time analytics, offering a more holistic portrayal of audience behaviors across time, location, devices and platforms.

Incorporating this type of tracking into your strategy is the most accurate way to measure success and know what you’re doing works. It’s the final puzzle piece you need to succeed at profiling your audience, using reliable data that reflects real people.

Indie spotlight: Brilliant Noise

The challenge

Getting to the revealing insight.

For every agency, the ability to profile a client’s target audiences effectively is essential in acquiring valuable insights. But for David Preece and Nick Siantonas, both Senior Strategists at Brilliant Noise, consumer profiling plays a much more important role across their business.

“This data plays an integral part in our customer planning work”, says David.

“We chose GlobalWebIndex as it provides the attitudinal and behavioral data we need to backup our ideas. We can then combine it with live social data, conversational data and website analytics.”

The action

Backing creative ideas with behavioral data.

This capability gives the agency the quantitative proof behind their work and allows them to make the case for strategic and creative solutions for prospective clients.

“We’ve used this data in several pitches – one recently, for example, where GlobalWebIndex acted as the proof point and core of the pitch,” says Nick.

The result

Winning new business with data-driven solutions.

Using consumer data that went beyond what they were used to, Brilliant Noise:

  • Won new business with unique insight they couldn’t find elsewhere.
  • Saved time and resource with ready access to robust research.
  • Improved targeting with revealing consumer data.

Having instant access to unique insight that made them stand out from the crowd meant they could improve their confidence and show off their individuality.

“I would definitely recommend GlobalWebIndex to other professionals, it’s really powerful and easy to use”, says David.

Download the full case study here.

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