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The Agency of The Future...Or Should We Say, Partner?

The days of clients hiring ad agencies to create :30-second spots, place them on TV and in magazines and newspapers, as well as create and send direct mail to addresses stored in huge databases are past tense.

Client’s needs have changed and so have the many day-to-day tasks at agencies. Now, ad agencies manage marketing across devices and serve customized messaging to specific target groups, which are based on real-time analysis of continuously fluctuating data. At the intersection of this perplexing and evolving mash-up of business operations and marketing are clients who need a partner.

Agencies of the future will build their business models around clients and their consumers versus brands or media channels. Results will also be a watchword. Technology and data will have to track work to sales. This will create new opportunities for agencies to build and expand e-commerce capabilities. With this change, content and distribution platforms become more interdependent and the workload increases tenfold as agencies scramble to get content to more and more platforms in less and less time.

One of the big revelations? The term “agency” will most likely disappear. In its place, comes the term “partner.” Another prediction is that there will be a division between those who create original content and big ideas and the specialists who handle the personalization and omnichannel dissemination of the work.

Who will serve as lead agencies or partners for clients in the future? Those who can attract “nerdy specialists” or vice versa. In some instances, it might mean a more creatively oriented lead shop that partners with one focused on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and media. Others believe that integrated shops will be led by a “creative technology partner” whose team will consist of a technologist, a distribution expert, and a storyteller.

Other developments? Clients will begin to demand newly bundled support across e-commerce, digital content, and media distribution bringing new competition. It could come from expected or unexpected corners of the marketing world. Media owners, publishers, even phone carriers could enter the scene. Shops who have positioned themselves well in anticipation of these future predictions and changes are the ones that will thrive.

(This article is excerpted in part from AdAge, May 2, 2016)