Working for a variety of companies I have personally felt that an agency could benefit by creating a unique role of integration officer. The benefits of having one person that could track and monitor efficiencies, innovations and best practices across a variety of clients and categories is almost too large to count.
In a perfect world this role could exist within the account team. The director of account services would be most uniquely positioned to review client and agency profitability, success and innovation. He or she could then leverage this information across the entire agency.
However, the exponential growth in the digital and interactive spaces almost makes it impossible for a person in that role to keep up with the innovations and trends.
Until more people can understand the methodologies, processes and growth in digital and interactive marketing we require a different breed of person that can help integrate ideas and success throughout an agency.
This person would meet with the account supervisors, planners and key creative and interactive people. Their role would be to identify the success and failures for the agency and the client, without bias. You’ll note I call out the agency, because it is just as important to identify a project that was above or below budget, to find team members that found great personal and skill growth, and methodologies that are agile and effective.
By meeting with the account team the integration officer would be able to make suggestions across service lines, clients and categories to help push success down throughout the organization.
With a strong interactive background the integration officer would be able to identify technologies that are creating value for the client as well as platforms that could be reused or resold. Additionally the integration officer could identify opportunities that could be assigned to a research and development group. (Yes agencies should invest in R&D too)
The integration officer should also base his or her recommendations on research and analytics. What were the objectives for the project? Did we meet them? Working with the planning department he or she would be able to revise and refine strategies, effective tactics and eventually help identify new business opportunities.
In lieu of such a role, agencies should create an executive team that meets monthly to review the success and failures of their current business, projects and campaigns. The team should consist of representatives from their planning / research, interactive, account and creative departments.
It is becoming essential that agencies are agile and cost-effective while still delivering the best results. There is a reason that companies like Apple and Google continue to deliver.
Google focuses on R&D while leveraging a variety of their technologies in different spaces. Just think about how Google Voice will allow Google to leverage speech-to-text in the future.
Apple is able to find consistency and innovation with each product launch. Apple also clearly focuses on refining and improving their products.
For any full-service agency the role of integration officer should be considered and further defined. Whether it is one person or a group of your top minds, there is a need to continuously improve and provide more value. With such a cross-section of clients, services and category knowledge agencies are well suited to provide thought and innovation leadership within (and outside of) the industry.