3 Key Trends in the Marketing Industry & Disrupted Partner Value Chain

Last December, I participated at the Google Partner Summit in Singapore. The conference was mainly about the latest Google/Temasek report and its implication for brands in Southeast Asia. One keynote though talked about the changing role of agencies and how the partner value chain is disrupted. As a digital marketer by heart I found the analysis of the changing value chain and its implications for Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) interesting.

Screenshot 2020-02-06 13.19.56

In the past, a typical CMO had to choose from only 3 types of partner: Traditional Media Partner, Creative Partner and Measurement Partner. The value chain was pretty straightforward: From developing a big idea or campaign (Creative partner) to plan and execute media buying (Media Partner) to analysing and verifying the performance of your activities (Measurement Partner). You instantly knew to whom to go if you needed certain services.

Today, however, the demands of a CMO have changed dramatically: she has to drive new & existing business growth, improve customer loyalty & experience, reduce costs & increase data control, demonstrate ROI of marketing activities and on top protect customer data privacy (e.g. GDPR in Europe). The challenge? Most of the big agency networks still work based on the old value chain.


Thanks to the proliferation of the digital economy and its changing value chain, there are more down- & upstream partner to choose from: from data & AdTech partners (such as LeRoi in Europe), Performance Partners (such as FALCON Agency) or Strategy Consultants (BCG or McKinsey Digital) that start to offer digital marketing strategies. The value chain gets more fragmented and specialised.

With this changing value chain 3 key trends can be observed:
  • Data is playing a much more important role.
    Topics such as who owns the data, who (and how) can you access and share data and what standardised format can be used will be raised more and more.
  • Clients needs are becoming more complex.
    This is driving the proliferation of specialist partners. The old value chain (media, creative and measurement partner) is outdated given the complexity of the client needs. Nowadays, you are invited for a “media” pitch but while working on the solution you realise that you have to touch upon the product/service offering (4Ps come to mind), UI/UX and marketing effectiveness. Here, our developed conversion framework comes handy to use.
  • Existing players are expanding their service offering.
    Another big trend is that consulting companies start to go downstream (from strategy to digital venture building – see BCG and BCG Ventures or McKinsey and McKinsey Leap) and agencies that start to go up-stream with offerings such as strategy & co-creation offerings: one new offering that is coming up from agencies is the DBOT (Design Build Operate & Transfer) model that we have championed over the last years.

In short, as the demands are changing for a CMO, he/she will have to handle a variety of specialist partner (and thus better understand the evolving partner value chain) with data at its core. This trend is accelerated as client needs are getting more complex and new service offerings are needed to serve this market demand.
I will share more about the DBOT (Design Build Operate & Transfer) model in one of my next posts.

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