How To Future-Proof Your Advertising Agency
The advertising agency of the future needs some serious planning and agility. No surprise here. But, what is surprising to me is the wide range of attention, or lack thereof, to the future I see in the advertising world.
Just for the hell of it. I’ll start with the good old days.
My first job in advertising was at Dancer Fitzgerald & Sample. Back in the 1980’s DFS was New York’s largest advertising agency. We were sweetly based in the iconic Chrysler Building. At that time, we did not spend lots of gray matter on thinking about the future of the advertising agency business because we were making a 15% commission on media and 16.5% on production. We had a sweet client list that included General Mills, P&G, RJR Nabisco, Sara Lee, Northwest Airlines (I ran the account and our annual profits were $6 million on $9 million in revenues), HP and Toyota. As you might expect, we were not too concerned about reinvention. All this client and revenue firepower helped Saatchi & Saatchi love and buy Dancer in 1986.
Today advertising is a radically different business and ad agencies need to be thinking about how to be positioned for a future where multi-year AOR clients; 15% media commissions; three primary media types (TV, print, radio); a positive global network effect and loyalty are attributes of the past.
Not to get too down, but today the advertising world is about project work, crazy price consciousness, competition from all sides (large consultancies, in-house agencies and your ex-Creative Director who does just fine as a freelancer).
Look, for many agencies, it is kinda fucked up out there. As the famous Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting times”. But, but, there are still agencies that grow and make bucks. You can too.
So, in preparation for this blog post – yes, it is ultimately about how to position your agency for the future – I read a bunch of articles on “the advertising agency of the future.” Not too surprising, this is a hot topic.
Interesting (as in ‘Uh Oh’) the first page of Google has articles on your future from traditional agency killers like Deloitte, Accenture, Adobe, CMO.com (an Adobe site).
The agency industry perspective is not on Google’s page one. It isn’t until page two that Inc., AdAge, The Drum and the ANA get to chime in.
I stopped trying to find an actual advertising agency perspective delivered via this search term by the time I got to page four. Do the big guys (even WPP, Publicis, Omnicom, etc.) not want to discuss the future?
Some Findings On The Future on Advertising
Here are some of the highlights from my research. I’m listing these in random order. I’ll have my personal thoughts a bit later. Read More