In 2017 agencies still did not become convinced with the excel thinking but they started tolerating the way of thinking presented by those who use excel everyday...
My summary of the year won't touch on the most interesting campaigns, effective solutions and the position of Polish agencies on the global market. There is a large number of reliable publications on this topic in this period (bloggers: @Adam Przeździęk, @Natalia Hatalska and many others) and I myself use these works, and many of you have certainly become acquainted with them.
However, I'll share my knowledge in which the emphasis is put on the relationship agency - customer, namely on directions which affect both the work of the entire agency and the marketers themselves. When you manage an agency you need to see certain things from a wider perspective. You don't build opinions on the basis of single campaigns which you co-created or witnessed. You may still take delight in cases, non-standard campaigns, the freshness of ideas from young talents, but you should arrange all of this on a great board, think about how to act in the long time perspective and to bring as much benefit to your agency and customers for whom you work.
Words which best define 2017, from my subjective perspective
(Perspective of a person responsible for the development of the agency)
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE RESULT: I have noticed a growing maturity in the operations of advertising agencies. In recent years the customers have quite firmly verified the aspirations of agencies which – more often than not – were not reflected in sales results. A growing number of employees in creative departments is aware that marketers "on the other side" (in fact, behind the wall) are accounted for with regard to numbers and reliability wins with imagination. If a campaign in which creativity and non-schematic thinking raise sales results is already being implemented, this is only for the best. In 2017 agencies have not yet come to love Excel thinking, but they began to tolerate the thinking of those people who look into these Excel files every day. This is also affected by the migration on the job market and the transfer of agency employees to the customers (and vice versa). These are no longer two completely separate worlds which have so far differed not only in terms of their organizational culture, but also in the manner of working and thinking about success only in the categories of non-standard creations.
ADVERTISING ACTIVITIES COMPANIES FROM THE SME SECTOR: We have often heard complaints about the monopoly of the largest global players, such as FB or Google. However, we should appreciate the tools which allow small and medium enterprises to reach their customers with the use of these channels. Of course, we're also talking about paid advertisements. 2017 is a period of more and more intense activities from smaller enterprises which came to believe that they are able to effectively promote their services with help from third-party specialists (sometimes, single freelancers). An advertising campaign is no longer reserved for the largest companies with million-dollar budgets. Well-planned campaigns with a relatively low budget for paid media make it possible to exceed the noticeability threshold.Enterprises from the SME sector still have very much to catch up in this respect, but they took the first step in 2017.
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTING BUSINESS: The technological progress is an inseparable element of civilization's development and 2017 is not especially crucial in this respect. It's more about thinking and an effective combination of scientific discoveries with actual business. In order for us to achieve the scale result, some processes must be automated. Therefore, companies are more and more often using technological solutions due to which they are able to optimize their marketing activities together with an advertising agency. I have noticed an even greater openness from companies to such solutions in 2017. However, the number of solutions and technologies results in the fact that companies don't fully use their potential. The most important thing is that they are no longer afraid of such solutions, and this should bring benefits in the years to come. Technological companies have already become the most influential entities which overtook such brands as Coca-Cola in rankings. This has taken place earlier, but this year has only strengthened the position of technological companies in the lives of ordinary consumers. With this dynamic development of artificial intelligence, I am concerned that the summaries in a few years (if I'm healthy enough) will be dominated by the opinion that artificial intelligence is pushing people out of the job market at an alarming rate.
LOCAL NATURE: The driving force of tales told in campaigns in the Czech Republic, which are sometimes referred to here in Poland as an unrivalled model of building consumer behaviors, is loyalty towards local breweries, and the trend to promote local initiatives and places is growing quickly in Polish branding. Place branding is surely not a trend which appeared in 2017, because the intensity of such campaigns had already been seen in the previous years. However, a belief was consolidated that it's worth doing something more, sometimes including this into the CSR category. Local internet media are also more and more confidently forcing their way through in business, and they're not giving up without a fight with powerful media groups. The support for local businesses, initiatives, individual people, talents, those in need – all this has taken on an actual form this year, and at times we could observe quite interesting projects (although they lacked range and they didn't always deliver their message to a greater number of recipients). Smaller or larger enterprises, individual specialists, they're not ashamed of their origin any more, they willingly engage in local matters and projects. This results in the growing importance of smaller entities in the advertising trade.
HUMAN2HUMAN: I've left this item for the end. 2017 was crucial for me in terms of the customers' declarations who rely on cooperation with people, specific specialists, choosing this over choices determined by the size of an agency and the number of its branches in Europe, more than as an image trend – namely showing companies "with a human face". I've never before heard such clear and pure (this is important!) declarations from customers that they want to work with people with whom they have developed relationships, whom they trust, because they have completed several successful projects with them earlier.
The merit always goes to the entire team and not only to the account or a member of the agency's board who have lunches with the customer. I'm happy, however, that the Polish marketing trade is finally getting rid of the complexes of our parents and beliefs dating back to the former political system that acquaintances and relationships in business involve unethical activities. Professional relationships sometimes go hand in hand with interpersonal relationships, with the fact that you sometimes worked late in the evenings to save the customer's project, with the fact that you were honest. I've never heard the following words spoken so loudly in 2017: I want to work with you, because I know you...
I sincerely hope that I'll meet many valuable people in 2018, I'll get to know the unique nature of new companies, businesses which I'll take delight in, and that I'll be able to say: I want to work with you for many years to come, because I know you, and I'm still impressed with your diligence, entrepreneurship and ethics.