At Swrve we’ve found ourselves spending an awful lot of time in the company of agencies recently. I don’t think that’s a surprise - certainly when it comes to some of the more creative mobile campaigns a large number of organizations trust their partners in agency land to work with them on smart, cutting-edge mobile marketing campaigns.

It’s certainly an interesting experience for us. We have a background working with some pretty hard-nosed app businesses with a clear focus on revenues and the bottom line, so it’s always enlightening to be involved in projects that take a more ‘brand led’ view on success - considering the simple creation of ‘brand equity’ as a positive result (although all carefully measured of course).

The Agency Mindset

We’ve also learned a lot about the objectives of agencies themselves. Hopefully I’m not giving away too many trade secrets when I make the following two observations:

  1. Agencies succeed when they move up the value chain - from simple development in some cases, through to design, on to strategy and the ultimate goal of being a long-term digital or mobile ‘partner’ - an essential part of the business that happens to sit outside the building (and has comfortable sofas, better cookies and a fussball table)
  2. A large part of success for many agencies remains the media buy. The more money they handle in this space, the more valuable they are to the client and the bigger the contract.

So where does mobile marketing automation of the type provided by Swrve fit into that? Does it help the agency or make their life harder?

Let’s take the first bullet - because the answer here is relatively straightforward. The ability to optimize and personalize the mobile experience, and create awesome individual campaigns, is clearly something that any brand should consider a high priority. In this instance, it’s the job of the agency to understand what can be done in the space and bring that story to their clients - that's precisely what a strategic partner - or an organization that wants to be a strategic partner, should be doing. More to the point, failure to do so that is a problem - you can’t afford to be having that conversation the other way round!

The second bullet is more problematic. After all, by creating an emphasis on the way we engage with existing users, rather than focusing on acquiring new users, doesn’t the agency run the risk of damaging their business (even whilst doing the right thing)?

Well, yes and no. In a recent blog on this very site our CEO Christopher Dean pointed out that ultimately a mobile business has to have a handle on engagement and monetization before the acquisition tap is truly turned on. The truth is that mobile apps and experiences that an organization is truly confident about will always attract the biggest acquisition spends - and that confidence comes from the mobile marketing automation campaigns that turn casual visitors into long-term ROI. And as the slide below (from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Report) shows, there’s still plenty of room for growth in mobile acquisition spend.

What Agencies Want From Mobile Marketing Automation

Ultimately, it’s not just possible to do the right thing (ensure the mobile experience is as awesome as possible) and at the same time create the environment in which acquisition and media spend can be turned up. One almost inevitably leads to the other. When there is true confidence in the app experience, organizations can be safe in the knowledge that ROI is being delivered on their acquisition spend and ramp up accordingly. Doubles all round!