Change is for Ad Agencies

June 1st, 2011

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “what are ad agencies doing to change?” The question is often followed up by a comment regarding the drastic need for agencies to change in order to remain relevant. There are at least a zillion articles on this topic so you’d have to be a complete cave dweller not to have seen something on this.

And agencies are changing. They’re bringing on new capabilities, anything from digital to direct mail or publishing. Agencies are diversifying their offerings and clarifying those things that they’ve always done but that some marketers seem to have forgotten. Clearly the agencies that are not “reinventing (god what an overused term) themselves” are going down.

There’s a lot of buzz about agencies and change. Is there something very unique about the business that’s forcing it into this apparent revolution? Not really.

Any junior marketer knows that in order to thrive business must change. Any business.

There are people who will tell you that, with the advent of digital to fragment media choices, and with branding agencies broadcasting to the world that only they are capable of branding – even though sophisticated, full service agencies have been doing branding since the inception of branding, the ad , agency business faces extinction.

But I ask you, aren’t conditions in every business changing? Doesn’t the advent of digital and social media affect every business? Sure some changes can and should evolve more slowly than others – but every business should be in flux pretty much all the time to “keep the stone from gathering moss.”

The most savvy folks in our industry are change agents. So why does everyone look at us as if we have three minutes to run from a burning building?