News & Views

Introducing MaShCreaTr / Our map for keeping up with an ever-expanding Adland

by Dan Southern

This article originally appeared in Contagious Magazine issue 46.

In the five short years Contagious has been running our Insider consultancy, we’ve worked on a wide-ranging selection of projects, from developing creative leadership programmes to creating marketing innovation labs. But the one question that brand leaders and agency heads have repeatedly asked us is this: How should they navigate the constantly shifting terrain of the modern agency landscape?

Little wonder. Marketing leaders are having to take on more responsibility than previously expected. According to research from Marketo and The Economist, 75% of chief marketing officers are preparing to assume responsibility for the entire customer journey by 2020, though only 33% claim to have it today. That means they must identify and then orchestrate a wider array of partners to work with than ever before.

Meanwhile, their traditional agency partners see competitors from unexpected quarters moving in on their patch, forcing them to work harder to ensure their own house is in order: whatever it takes to stay relevant – and valuable – to their clients.

The result is that for clients, the business of marketing has become an ever-expanding urban sprawl of options and complexity. So we’ve developed our own map to help leadership teams across the industry frame their thinking and chart a course for the future. You could be a client considering who to partner with and how to work, in which case it pays to get to grips with the lie of the land. Or you may be a partner business, such as an agency, consultancy or media/technology provider considering where and how to grow. If so, being aware of what’s going on beyond your own backyard could help you detect opportunities or threats.

Ultimately, this map is our way of making sense of an industry in an ongoing state of flux. It's called MaShCreaTr (standing for Make, Share, Create Transform), a simple four-box matrix that imposes some order on this increasingly chaotic marketing landscape.

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