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"Integrated agency" is on SA's marketing minds, finds Agency Scope 2019 study (so far)

The Agency Scope 2019 South Africa study fieldwork is nearing an end. After interviewing more than 170 leading marketers face-to-face and receiving responses to its online survey from 150+ senior creative and media agency professionals, feedback and trends have started emerging.
Image credit: Joshua Coleman on Unsplash.

“These early trends are a strong indication of how the marketing and advertising landscape is being viewed and should provide some food for thought and possible change for both marketers and agencies,” says Johanna McDowell, managing partner for Scopen Africa.

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Some of the trends and what marketers are looking for right now include:


The matter of the integrated agency is a recurring theme. So far it appears that most marketers don’t believe that a single agency has, under one roof, the ability to deliver on all the specialist requirements of the marketer, and must therefore integrate and collaborate with others to deliver the best solution for the client.

While this works in theory, each agency will have their own agenda when it comes to managing their profit and loss account.

The key issue with the above is the frustration marketers experience with the highly specialised digital landscape. Initial commentary indicates that the agencies providing digital services in-house as part of an integrated offering are not doing so to a level or depth that the super-specialised digital agencies can.

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The traditional ATL (and even the new integrated) and lead agencies are still considered great at coming up with the “big idea”, but it doesn’t always translate well into digital media channels. The ideas are therefore falling flat at the point of execution and having little impact beyond awareness in the traditional ATL channels.

The large traditional advertising giants must reinvent themselves for this digital world, particularly in terms of processes. Marketing budgets can’t afford big-production for “throwaway” digital content and don’t find it necessary.

Review internal processes


The overall inference is that agencies also need to reinvent their internal processes to match their client’s business needs, which include a quicker turnaround. Briefing a timely social media campaign cannot be done via the same traffic process as a considered TV campaign, as the speed at which digital operates means the opportunity for traction is lost by the time the ideas come through.

A clear frustration is noted with media agencies not offering enough value beyond buying media, which clients are considering taking in-house. Marketers are looking for innovation in this space, which will mean that media agencies are also involved in the creative solution.

The more mature marketers are struggling to understand digital in enough detail to make an impact and don’t necessarily trust their agencies to give the right answers because they may, possibly, not be able to articulate the questions. Agencies must be patient in assisting certain marketers through the transition, ensuring guidance and edification as part of the process.


With three weeks to go before fieldwork is completed, the four senior-level researchers active in the fieldwork in South Africa, along with the highly skilled Scopen research professionals in Madrid, are conducting the final interviews which will complete the study. 

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Agency Scope has been conducted twice in South Africa since 2016 and the 2019 third edition study and results will be presented to participating agencies in the latter part of October and November 2019.

Cesar Vacchiano, global CEO and founder of Scopen, who will presenting the results to agencies later this year adds: ”More than 200 CMOs will have contributed to the 2019 edition, making it the most in-depth and current in-depth view of the marketing and agency arena, and one that can assist the sectors with the innovation that clients are looking for from both.”
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