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Do clients need agencies?

July 7, 2010

Go here, and take a read. This is a post with lots of pretty pictures that essentially says clients won’t need us.

If you don’t fancy clicking, here’s the crux of the post:

“If clients only pay for the things they can’t do themselves, what does that mean when we work in a real-time, social web world?”

This is a debate going in many, many board rooms across many agency structures. It’s going on in some of the best ad agencies who are experimenting with executing the big idea in non-traditional places.

I’ve been putting together a competitive study of ‘social media agencies’ (or new media agencies) that are not only different companies but they might even have different models. I’ve been reading through their offerings, and trying to understand their pitches. Most lead with change.

Everything has changed.

If that’s true, then the traditional model of the ad agency is doomed. But maybe not.

Because its still all about marketing ideas. It used to be about ‘big ideas’ — the kind that had legs and could be executed across all mediums. It still is. But it’s also about many, many smart little ideas that come from all aspects of the business. Media ideas. PR ideas. That’s sort of the crux of the quote above. The client can come up with the ideas.

And while these new models (or even a model where the client does everything) seem to be hot, what they aren’t is just as important to discuss.

First, a little background: The first ad agency was started in 1812. Since then, it’s evolved from a reseller of media to a full service marketing department. Some of the greats ones aren’t just delivering ideas in new media, they are training their clients in these media.

So why will we still be around?

Because we can get the different skill sets in a room together to tackle the problems of the client. And the really creative people will still lean towards agencies because they are fun, creative, and interesting places to work.

Indeed, the client is generally conservative and needs a push from the agency to do something different, new, scary, intriguing. Taking all work client side is just different.

That said, we have to ensure we’re poised to offer the client more than just the things they can do. The old model is broken. People are holding onto the past. Both on the client side, and the agency side.

How is your agency poised for all this change?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2010 12:25 pm

    We been there before, Agency is good to give you directions and detach you from you business and see different perspective …

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