The future of agencies relies on the strength of their technology stack

This is the first article in a multipart series where thought leaders from CHILI publish consider the seismic changes threatening the traditional agency business model. Why is such a dramatic and fast-paced change happening? And how can agencies turn this threat into opportunity?

Part 1: The Race is on

There is a deep shift in retail marketing right now, and it has thrown agency work into upheaval.

The boom in customer data is driving the rapid trend towards multichannel output of personalized and localized offers and campaigns.

Many of the agencies we speak to lack the resources needed to churn out consumer promotions at the speed their clients want. Inevitably, this resource challenge is because they don’t have Creative Automation in place.

But other agencies have seen the light. We call these innovators Design+Tech Agencies. They are the ones delivering traditional agency work plus Creative and Retail Automation technology. By doing so, they provide the much-needed data-driven, hyper-speed marketing collateral their clients want.

The coming software race among agencies

In a recent white paper by Jay Pattisall and J.P. Gownder of Forrester, they explain how future strategic offerings from agencies will be dependent on the solutions they choose to put in their Martech stack. And they add that tech-enabled agencies will attract the best talent.

Intelligent creativity will set off a software race among agencies for which can best wed software, data, and learning to their operational models.

Jay Pattisall

Principal analyst

@ Forrester

They also go on to say that smaller and smarter organizations will master intelligent creativity — a key component of which is Creative Automation — faster than the behemoths, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation radically alter how agencies work.

So, why is this big shake up happening today?

The speed to market keeps accelerating

Things are shifting fast in retail advertising. To keep a foot in the door, you need to be addressing retail brands’ changing needs. Today, this requires that you think like a partner rather than a traditional agency.

In the good old days, an agency would try to score a big client. This would prove their marketing prowess and would help attract the next big name customer.
Today, it’s different: you need to be thinking about how to bring significant added value to every client. Even great creative work won’t fully achieve that. You need to bring more.

Reasons to make this change

By partnering and adding value, you get truly embedded in the client company. It builds a long-term relationship that will increase your reach in the account. This will future-proof your relevance in their business and the market as a whole.

But to start adding value, you first need to understand the key challenges and opportunities that retail brands face.

Find out more about how trends will impact retail

Discover the top 5 retail trends for 2022 providing new opportunities for you!

Retailers are becoming their own agencies

With access to so much rich data – think of a Macy’s customer base – retailers are getting smarter about claiming the marketing space and selling advertising to retail brands. Big names have jumped on board and have started bringing more and more of their advertising and marketing in-house. But the only way they can do this is with the right technology investment to process the data.

And data is key. Big customer data – thanks in part to Google advertising, and other online sources – has made it easier than ever to push ads live that precisely target a market audience.

This has created huge competition between agencies, and even the in-house agencies at large retailers, wanting to work with the available data.
Moreover, a wave of new design and advertising technology is setting up brands for success with less need to outsource creativity to agencies.

The result? Agencies are losing their competitive edge, losing customers, and finding it harder and harder to attract talent. To keep your customers coming back, you need to find a way to offer unbeatable added value. And it is obvious that this value needs to incorporate data-driven advertising.

In the hyper-speed reality, you need tech to survive…

And you don’t just need tech, you need the right tech stack. The choices you make today will have consequences on how customers partner with you in future. Get your tech offering right now and you’re setting yourself up to thrive.

ARISTID Retail Technology is a long-term client of CHILI publish. They dominate in the French market with their retail tech offering that puts them well ahead of the curve. The retail platform they developed uses CHILI GraFx as its Creative Automation accelerator. Clients today include grocery store chains like Intermarche, Carrefour and franchises like America’s KFC, to name a few. And their clients are already reaping big benefits.

There is no doubt that the retail sector is undergoing a revolution. Not just platform providers. Customers also want better, more personalised experiences.

Florian Payri

General Director


So, how can your agency deliver the right technology to help scale graphic production for your consumer brand clients? We’ll discuss this in depth in the next blog.

Download our white paper

And find out:

  • Three key retailer challenges facing agencies today
  • Key questions agencies should be asking themselves
  • Opportunities for agencies to bolster services, earn more and retain clients


Kevin Goeminne

Jul 27, 2022

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