If you’re a marketing professional (particularly in the digital space) and have five minutes to yourself today, you should read David Brown’s article at Marketing Magazine.


While the debate about “who’s going to buy digital shops” is itself interesting, what’s more insightful is the role of the agency on your team. Groove has taken a consultative approach to our business for years, and we are constantly complimented for our dedicated, team approach to solving problems and finding opportunities for our clients. Sometimes that devotion is rewarded and sometimes not, but it’s always been a key belief for us – invest, over invest and invest again. Unless we really know the brand, its owners, advocates and fans, we cannot possibly drive the kind of meaningful activation and engagement that leads to real business results – on both the consumer and trade sides of the business.

A deeply embedded understanding of, and devotion to, the brand is being mandated for agencies at exactly the time when the thirst for content has transformed the business. The big agencies simply cannot, and will not, adapt fast enough to help you through this transformative time.  The problem, as Mr. Brown states, has layers. According to him, “increasingly marketing-savvy consumers are even more elusive (and) new players  are entering the fray while everyone struggles to turn big data into anything meaningful.” Groove’s Social Publishing methodology was born from this transformative reality.

So how does this relate to “big agencies burning out”? Mr. Brown continues, “But talk to agency execs and very early in the conversation the crux of the problem emerges: while agencies have endured years of procurement-mandated fee cuts, now they are being asked to produce more and more and more for their clients without corresponding new revenue.” He then quotes Bob Goulart from Unitas, “There used to be a time when we would create five or six creative pieces over the course of a year. That’s turned into 400, 500, 700. There is this insatiable thirst for content.” And therein lies the rub.

To be an effective marketer in wine and spirits, where we suffer from low brand awareness, low brand loyalty, high fragmentation and relative scarcity in market, we must work constantly to be “top-of-mind” when a consumer is making purchase decisions. To do that, we need to build an immersive, meaningful and ongoing relationship with that consumer. Passive advertising simply will not get the job done.  Dropping into conversations where influencers are talking about wine will not get the job done. Spending your budget on trade publications will not get the job done. And since relatively few brands can even afford top-down awareness brand building, there is no way to grab consumer attention without doing it one consumer at a time. Layer on a massive ROI focus and it becomes clear, very quickly, why the big agency model fails.

You deserve a partner who is invested in your success. A partner who gets the new paradigm and is willing to put in the additional energy required to make you successful. You’re not going to get that investment from a big agency. Their economic model won’t allow for it. Read the article and hopefully you’ll draw the same conclusions.  Then call us at Groove.