2022 reconfirms the great potential of the Colombian market, which has historically surprised us with its high satisfaction levels in advertiser-agency relations as was seen in Part 1: Colombia's advertisers recognise their agencies great work.
Evidently, advertisers´ investment in digital has been increasing edition after edition. It grew seven points from 2014 to 2016, and eight points from 2016 to 2018. But since 2018 (in four years) it has only increased 7%, and in this last edition it has grown the least.
Said investment in digital is already very close to the investment in ATL, but still behind, unlike in many other markets (Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in Latam) where digital is already the main budget item for marketing and communication.
Obviously, it depends a lot on the advertisers, on their commitment to the digital medium and on how digitised consumers are. But agencies must be prepared to help advertisers go digital to a greater extent, giving them support and confidence that digital is not the future but the present.
In any case, the first step that agencies must take is to finish digitising themselves internally, evolve their thinking from branding to performance, and have sufficient resources (technological and equipment) to accompany advertisers in their digitisation process, which, if it hasn't started yet, will come sooner rather than later.
Advertisers increasingly work under a specialisation model (67%), which in the last edition was 57%. But there is an "unrequited" desire to work more under an integration model (44% would like to work with an integrated agency that would solve the different disciplines for them -a percentage very similar to that of 2020-).
In other words, the current work model has changed towards specialisation, but the desire to work with integrated agencies continues to exist.
Agencies must demonstrate their ability to integrate services. First with current clients, to be able to grow organically with them; and then with prospects, showing them with real work their true capacity for integration. But… how does an agency demonstrate its ability to integrate?
There is no other way to show it than by being a specialised agency but in different disciplines. Integration comes from specialisation, from having capabilities in multiple disciplines, specialist teams by area and a vocation for internal collaboration where all teams work towards a common goal, without thinking exclusively about their discipline of expertise.
Agency names are important. Its recognition, its history and its prestige are its hallmarks. Names don't usually change, but teams sadly change too much. It is unfortunately common, especially in Latin America. A problem which we also see in markets like Argentina and Mexico, where the turnover of teams is also very high.
In Colombia, 33% of advertisers state that their creative agency teams are not stable, and 31% state the same with their media agencies. These are very high percentages, much more than what is desired by advertisers and by agency directors themselves. Although the current agency teams are highly valued by their clients (more than in the past), it is a wake-up call.
An excessive and continuous rotation of teams usually leads to a loss of client confidence in the agency, a loss of knowledge and seniority by “juniorising” the teams, and consequently, greater chances that advertisers will no longer be as satisfied as they are currently. Talent attraction is key. Attracting the best possible team strengthens the agency, and its capabilities and consequently often leads to greater customer satisfaction. But today it is much more important to retain current talent.
Team motivation, not only with a "physical" salary but also an emotional one (working remotely options, flexible hours, work-life balance and a good work environment) and team inspiration (training, opportunities for professional growth and long-term career plans) are the keys to retaining a team, creating stronger agencies and avoiding future problems with clients.
This information is from the fifth edition of Agency Scope Colombia where 830 interviews were conducted, of which 281 were with professionals from the main advertising companies in Colombia and 549 professionals who work in creative and media agencies. The fieldwork was carried out between the months of February to May 2022.