For years there has been an ongoing race to obtain the most recent and advanced technologies among the large agency holdings. However, as technology has become obsolete and less expensive, it is having increasing less of a differentiating impact.
According to Adweek, “Digital disruption, media fragmentation, new technologies and the overall pace of change have reshaped the agency landscape beyond all recognition.”
There is no argument about it, tech has changed the way the agency landscape operates and it is a fundamental part of success and maintaining a competitive edge. But what good is your technology if you don’t have a team that utilizes it to its maximum capacity?
Overall success is reliant upon the people behind the technology, and agencies will see a refocus on whos managing tech rather than the technology itself.
What Are the Drivers of Success?
We could never sit here and deny the import and critical role technology plays in the evolving advertising industry. However, how useful is this technology if it’s not making employees more efficient?
One of the largest challenges agencies face with the integration of new technologies is finding the structures and processes that can be scaled and prove ROI quickly.
The whole purpose of technology is to make processes smoother, easier and overall more successful, but with the new comes learning curves. If you don’t hire talent that can keep up with constantly changing technologies and use them to their full potential, technology becomes more of a hindrance than a help.
For years, people were the only reliable source to help build success in the business world. As unemployment rates grew smaller, culture began to play a large role in attracting the best people. Culture was designed to drive a certain set of behaviors and talent to the business and the organization of that talent was essentially all it took to make an agency better and different.
We seem to have lost the simplicity of this in the mix of technology-centered work environments.
Gary Stolkin, CEO of the Talent Business, reported via Adweek “Culture attracts the best talent, culture is the most powerful retention tool and culture can drive diversity. Leaders who understand how to build a culture and attract the best talent will come into their own again.”
Culture and Talent
Any great agency is bound by a sense of mission. Every employee in a collective sense believes that as a group they are on a journey towards something, and different people share the same ultimate goal.
Unique culture within continues to be what makes great companies stand apart, and serves as a differentiator when clients are on the search for a new agency. Culture is created by millions of small decisions, and you can’t fake it.
Take one of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work in 2019 agency winners for example; The Community is committed to making this world a better, more diverse place and embodies that in every aspect of the business. The company is committed to environmentally friendly policies and is a multicultural agency where more than 80% of the staff belongs to a minority or multicultural group. The company also partners with groups that support Women and the LGBTQ community. This agency is a perfect embodiment of what culture looks like inside and out. It’s believing in something and hiring people who take action to embody those beliefs.
The compilation of a work environment’s values, taste, sense of humor, and so forth contribute to the overall company culture. It’s the only real way to outshine your agency competitors. While they are doing the same work, you can provide that work in a different way. According to an article by Sujan Patel, “While skillsets and experience are important when hiring new members for your organization, you also need to hire for culture fit. An employee’s skills may get them in the door, but your culture is what will keep them there.”
Culture encourages loyalty, which allows the agency to avoid turnover costs, recruiting, training, lost expertise and lowered productivity that comes with employees resigning from their position. Research shows that workplace stress leads to an increase of almost 50% in voluntary turnover.
Taking the time to develop a positive work culture will pay off in the long run. If you treat the people behind the technology right, they will have no reason to leave. To go along with that idea, if you hire quality people, they will deliver quality work. Technology is useless if the people behind the scenes don’t understand it completely and aren’t passionate about it. Hiring an employee is an investment, and you want to make sure you invest in the right people.
One of the most simple ways for an agency to stay updated with technology is to ensure they employ and empower people who are interested and excited about it and are able to influence the direction of the agency and the work it produces.
Although today’s technologies are beneficial and rapidly changing, agencies don’t necessarily need new technology to grow their business. Agencies need top talent to manage that technology and build standard operating procedures in an environment that they enjoy.