How agencies can unlock the power of creative technology

Marketing solutions have been transformed through the application of creative technology. Previously confined to the more forward-thinking digital agencies, creative tech has crossed over into traditional and integrated agency structures. This transformation is reflected in award-winning work but also in the real world, where it enhances creative expression and provides smarter ways of applying data.

While this innovation is arguably what defines the future of brand engagement, there remain several barriers to its progression, most notably in the areas of talent, operations and finance.

Agencies and brands often lack the kind of talent capable of developing creative technology solutions – more specifically, people capable of building both code and electronics for prototypes. Agencies also need people who understand both digital strategy and creative idea generation. While this talent can be found in tech development or creative departments, it is often better to recruit from outside the industry and nurture good people.

Operational issues also hinder the impact of creative technology. The linear waterfall processes led by planners and art director/copywriter teams are a particular barrier. To produce the best work, it’s preferable to develop concepts through an iterative process with a diverse team, recognising that the big idea can often come from a utility or technology opportunity.

Finally, and most significantly, are the financial barriers. Agency output is usually financed through marketing campaign budgets and needs to pay back within a short timeframe. Agencies often heavily subsidise the work to persuade clients to back an idea. Instead, creative technology should be funded through capital expenditure with a robust business case, allowing for larger returns over a longer timeframe. The impact is increased even further if clients and agencies can use a model that consciously builds innovation into their ways of working.

To unlock these issues, and to help agencies and brands create the future of brand engagement, the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) is launching a new initiative around creative technology. This starts with our first event later in January. More details can be found on our website.

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