The Digital CMO/ Branding & Communications

Redefining The CMO-Digital Agency Relationship


by Anoop Sahgal
Partner Marketing
Adobe Systems

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I have two new articles on the way to, so I figured I would post a sneak peek at one of them. (And, no, neither is about the hot topics of marketing metrics and reporting performance throughout an organization.) 

My next piece is about accountability and sustainable creativity as the “new normal” for marketers and their agencies--specifically as it relates to the CMO and digital agency relationship. For you bullet readers and skimmers, here are some of the highlights and basic themes:

  • Marketers are more reliant on their agencies and other outsourced partners to help them succeed in a business landscape that has become far more complicated, as well as highly technology- and data-driven.
  • The digital marketing world requires many new skill sets.
  • The world of digital marketing also is forcing a new way to think about creative that goes beyond the traditional norm

My usual quick tips for marketers are as follows:

1. Learn how to manage and work with an extended network of talented specialists: The natural and understandable tendency is for chief marketers to want one agency and one person to trust to ensure that everything gets accomplished.

2. Demonstrate the value of every marketing initiative: Marketers today are under more pressure than ever to deliver genuine value to the bottom line.

3. Think utility versus glitz: Today’s consumers are also demanding more value. Instead of just devising highly creative ideas, agencies and CMOs must work together to make consumers’ lives easier through genuinely appreciated content, products, functionality, and services.

4. Acknowledge that technology now drives marketing: To be as responsive to the marketplace and to changing conditions as possible, CMOs need platforms and technology tools.

5. Keep in mind that digital marketing is more than just a new advertising channel: A common misperception is that digital marketing is just a new form of advertising, but the reality is that it is a lot more complicated.

Are you expecting too much from your agency?

About Anoop Sahgal

Anoop Sahgal leads global marketing programs for Adobe's key agency and system integrator alliances. Sahgal has global experience in leadership roles that span marketing, product management, and business development in high technology, and has spent time time working in both the SI and agency worlds. Follow Sahgal on Twitter: @anoop_sahgal.