Where do you fit in your clients’ marketing ecosystem?

04 Jan 2021

There is a new context for marketing.

Political, economic, social, technological and environmental changes are re-shaping people’s attitudes and behaviours. Authority in all its forms is being called into question. Trust is harder than ever to earn. Competition is growing by the day. Margins are low and pricing is under severe downward pressure. The rate at which distribution, retail and communication channels are being disrupted is accelerating. Add to this the year that we have just experienced, and you have a perfect maelstrom of change.

While all this is throwing up new opportunities for agencies, it makes for a challenging environment. Marketing exists for one sole reason: to drive growth by ensuring the business is better placed to connect with its customers, now and into the future. As agencies, it is imperative you know what blend of capabilities and resources you need to support your client in their growth endeavours.

Brands are keenly aware they need to develop their marketing bench strength, use their resources more effectively and apply their Creative Capital in new ways. This is why so many are reviewing their marketing ecosystems. It has been a consistent area of focus for us throughout 2020 as we seek to help brands evolve their ecosystems from a effectiveness, efficiency and yes, sometimes cost perspective. They have an urgent requirement to find the right blend of internal and external capabilities to meet today’s challenges, whilst designing in the flexibility to adapt to new needs as they emerge. We call this process right-housing and it affects every agency.

Right-housing must recognise both Pull and Push Factors. Pull Factors are those things that will help future-proof the organisation. Foremost amongst these is owning strong brands; brands that have the data, know-how and agility to leverage themselves fully across every part of the customer experience. Push Factors are current pressures that demand a response: the need for greater cost and time-efficiency; simpler, more transparent operating structures; and the ability to prove to the business the value of every pound invested. While every brand looking to right-house starts from a different place, they are asking the same core questions. What is the best blend of internal and external capabilities to drive growth for my business? As agencies, it’s imperative you know where you can add most value in their ecosystem.

Here are the questions brands are asking. Are you thinking about how you approach these questions and where you fit?



  • Do they have the right expertise and specialisms to help your business connect better with current and future customers?
  • Are they consistently focused on driving growth for your business and/or improving its efficiency? Do they clearly understand your growth agenda?
  • Do they have additional capabilities that you either don’t know about or aren’t fully utilising? Could this allow you to weed out duplication elsewhere?
  • Are they eager to provide consultative help to operationalise and optimise your in-house capabilities?
  • Whatever their role in your ecosystem, do they bring innovative solutions to your business, brand and operational challenges?
  • Are they leaders in integration or strong contributors to collaboration? Are they proactive in spotting and plugging gaps?
  • Do they have data and methodologies that can give you actionable new insights into your customers’ needs?
  • Are they committed to upskilling your team and helping make sense of an increasingly chaotic marketing landscape?
  • Do they possess new approaches and mechanisms for testing, learning and evaluating impact against your business and customer goals?
  • Are they flexible in the KPI’s they use, and do they recommend new, outcomes-based measures to track performance?


There is no question that there is an enduring need for outsourced and insourced agency partner support for brands. What that looks like and where you fit is an evolving question and one which should form part of your 2021 account planning with the above questions in mind. To read the full report on Right-housing for the 2020s click here.

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Robin Charney


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