Agency Upheaval? Something’s Gotta Give
This post from David Edelman cuts right through to the myriad of reasons for the accelerating failure of traditional ad agency business models. It’s my favorite subject and great food for thought.
Yes, the IT revolution has really been a game-changer for advertising, marketing, and sales. As Edelman deftly implies, the end of advertising as we’ve known it is coming fast. The big question; What can agencies still provide that cannot be automated, in-housed, or off-shored? I think the answer is the kind of high-level thinking that can only come from those who need to understand multiple businesses, ecosystems and cultures to bring extra value. The agency of the future needs to include business consultants, product designers, trend-spotters, customer experience specialists, storytellers, data analysts and more. It’s a think-tank, not a production resource. Engagements begin at product conception or re-conception, integrated with development of products themselves.
This newly foreign terrain is telling big business (the clients of big agencies) something it does not want to hear; if telling the truth doesn’t sell, you need to go back to your business plan, figure out what you’re doing that hurts people, frogs, or anything else on the only planet we have to live on, and STOP doing those things. It’s time for big business to change its priorities because brand stories are now generated by corporate actions, not messaging.
As for agencies, there will no doubt be fewer as time goes on, but they will always be needed. The unique value agencies can still bring will rest, as it always has, in their range of understandings. Completely different activities and skills, but engaged for the same reasons as before.
Please let us know what you think.