Voice Search Will Bring Agency Relationship Woes to a Head

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The latest international study commissioned by Mailjet among 400 marketers in the UK and France found 72% of marketing departments have seen their budget rise in the last two years.

With the rise of voice search, there’s an enormous opportunity for technology, product and marketing teams to work collaboratively, and especially with their agencies, devising keyword phrases, analysing user search intent and expanding the business’s knowledge base content for the world of assistive technology.

But the money invested in new voice search campaigns could be the undoing of many internal and external team relationships already experiencing tension. Today, 40% of marketing, media and procurement professionals rated their client-agency trust level as ‘low’, compared to 29% of those surveyed in 2016.

The decline is reflective of the ‘direct-to-campaign’ budget mentality, where budget increases go directly towards new technologies and not foundational priorities, like improving team collaboration.

Unintended consequences

Of course, for most marketers, it’s almost instinctual that new budget will be invested directly into new campaigns. Zenith’s latest ad forecasts state that two-thirds of the growth in global advertising spend between 2017 and 2020 will be directed towards paid search and SEO as brands develop strategies for voice search. However, this is an add-on to the work brands are already doing with agencies. Alongside traditional channels (TV, print, radio) marketers are currently working on campaigns with external support across social media, digital marketing, events and email marketing.

Despite all of this,  44% of marketers are in conversation with their agencies only once a month or less around digital marketing campaigns. Why? It’s become a ‘too many cooks’ situation in which marketers already have at least five external points of contact.

The result of poor collaboration on marketing campaigns is not just frustration. It’s valuable time lost in waiting for colleagues to finish their part of a campaign and back-and-forth exchanges. Worse yet, 37% of marketers have seen recent projects submitted without senior approval.

Tooling up and taking control

As a result, marketing is fast approaching an impasse. On the one hand, marketing departments are growing and investing in new online channels such as voice. On the other, they are still dependent on dated team structures which already don’t facilitate productivity between large teams and their agencies when it comes to delivering digital marketing campaigns.

Before rushing to implement voice, marketers must stop and rethink their marketing investment to ensure agency relationships (as well as internal ones) are first streamlined to maximize their existing and proven channels, such as SEO and email marketing.

The good news is that over 90% of businesses are investing in some tools to facilitate better teamwork and collaboration. However, there is still a ways to go as many marketing departments (64%) are only able to invest in lower cost or free options and less than half (44%) of respondents expressed confidence that the department is investing in the right tools.

With marketers hoping to see an increase in the budget for collaboration tools of £20-50,000 per year, there ought to be a lot of room for researching and evaluating tools that will maximize internal and external teams across all marketing channels.

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