The Economist weighs in with four ways marketers are dealing with the proliferation of communication channels and shrinking budgets.

Quite simplistic, but here they are:

  1. Centralisation & simplification. This can mean many things, whether it be streamlining partnerships or standardising marketing messages.Source: CMO Survey Report: Highlights and Insights
  2. Technology & data. B2C marketers in a poll said generating customer insights through analytics and data mining was a critical component to future success of their marketing programmes.
  3. Crowdsourcing ideation. A poll found that 58% of B2B marketers struggle to create good collateral, which could make crowdsourcing a valuable alternative.
  4. Agility. The ability to adjust quickly to meet changing demand—can increase revenue by 20-40%, according to McKinsey.

The Economist infographic is worth a read and can be downloaded here.

Conspicuous by it’s absence, is the question of how to maintain motivation of the agency partners in the face of declining revenues, increasing fragmentation and crowdsourcing? One way is to reduce the number of partners. For example, Procter & Gamble cut the number of agencies it works with by nearly 40% in a push to optimise marketing spend and improve creative quality and communication effectiveness.

We contend that in an increasingly cut-throat agency world, clients who strive for more positive relationships with their agency partners will enjoy a disproportionate reward in terms of the quality of work they receive.

Analysis of the more than 17 million data points measuring over 17,000 client agency relationships prove with unquestionable accuracy that clients who know how to manage their agencies get 37% better creative output and 21% better media planning output than those who don’t.