SXSW: Do ad agencies need to think like software companies?

I sat in on the SXSW panel entitled ‘Do ad agencies need to think like software companies?’ This topic could not be more timely as brands and ad agencies find themselves increasingly caught in the squeeze between storytelling and technology demands. On the panel were Allison Mooney (Google), Ben Malbon (Google), Matt Galligan (SimpleGEO), Rick Webb (Barbarian Group) and Rob Rasmussen (TribalDDB). As you can see from the photo above of the crowd in the room this was a hot topic. Here are some highlights I heard:

Agencies need to be honest with themselves as to their tech savvy and what they need to learn.

Agencies have to be careful of rapid delegation to the ‘digital guy’ who codes. All should collaborate and creatively contribute across disciplines.

Agencies have to stop obsessing what they don’t know (new technology) and focus on exercising what they do know (storytelling, strategy, ideas).

Think while making as fast as you can – aim to have a product on Day One and then fix and iterate as you get. getting it right first means arriving to market late.

The technology guys need the marketing guys to know how to take their products to market so ad agencies are still relevant and important.

Knowing who you are as a brand in the first place transforms how well you engage technology as it gives you a jumping off point for execution and platforms.

Funding should go to the building the platform first so you can create and launch off it rather than always waiting for the idea and then building the platform.

The days of forcing a big ad through multiple media channels is dying. The channels will take more of a lead now and dictate content specific to them.

If a platform experiment fails, trim the problem and launch concept two off the same platform. Experimentation is all.

Marketing must be built into every aspect of what you do, rather than be seen as an unnecessary accessory to a good product.

Software companies need ad agencies to distil culture, to understand who your buyers are and to offer untethered creatives who can inspire, create and launch.

Innovation happens at the intersection of skill sets. That’s why software and ad agencies need each other.

Ad agencies have to teach the next generation of marketers how to as agile as the market itself.

It was a great panel and I’ll be sharing videos from speakers and thought leaders over the next few days.

Do the soundbites above resonate with you? Which ones stand out to you?