Agency of the Future

Came across this the other day – very interesting contribution to the agency of the future debate. It also has some useful links.

Direct your comments to Bud not me – if you scroll down you will find mine, which in summary is that we live in a both/and world. There will be a need for a ‘conventional advertising agency’ for many years to come, but there will be growing demand from both conventional clients (P&G et al) and non-conventional clients (i.e. everyone else but especially the new economy businesses) for a whole host of new configurations of services in which digital (= creative use of technology) will play a bigger and bigger part. As Bud points out, increasingly clients will bring some aspects of ‘marketing services’ in-house facilitated, as they are, by galloping technology.

A couple of simple observations. Clients have always paid only for what they cannot do cost effectively themselves. If clients cannot get what they want from their current agency roster they will go looking for it and someone will offer it or develop it. As I keep pointing out – age has its advantages – Ad agencies used to offer everything from making ads, pack design, research, new product development, PR, media buying etc etc. However, only the first of these did they do very well so new agencies developed as clients went looking.

I offer one piece of evidence of this both/and view, and it is a back-handed compliment to Martin Sorrell. If it was obvious that one agency model was going to be the clear winner rather than it being both/and with lots of different and emerging agency models, then WPP would look much more focused. As it is he buys everything that moves and even aims to have 3 competing brands in every major sector (I don’t think this is just about managing client conflict). He is betting on every horse in the race and any new ones that come along, a bit like his mate Rupert Murdoch. Who’d bet against this “strategy” – no-one but a private independent which is where I think the real action is.

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