Rise of the digital agency

The rise of social media has caught most of the marketing industry with their pants down.

Recently, a colleague sent us a fascinating article suggesting that clients distrust their traditional agencies when it comes to their digital strategies, but remain leery of handing over control of their brand strategy to their web ninja counterparts. 

The skinny:

Forrester Research conducted a "state of interactive agencies" survey of about 100 global interactive marketers. It found just 23 percent believed their "traditional brand agency" is capable of planning and managing interactive marketing activities. About 46 percent did not believe them capable, with the rest neutral on the question.  

No surprise here.  Over time, the digital campaign will become the tactical cornerstone of most things marketing.  The advantage here, clearly, going to the digital agency.  Here's why:  

  • The digital agency is nimble by necessity.  Change is part of their cultural fabric.
  • The traditional agency, in large part, hung its hat on media buys.  The inversion spending from traditional media to digital campaigns is changing quickly.  (If your traditional agency tells you it's not keeping them up at night, well, it is.)
  • It's easier for the digital agency to include and execute a traditional media buy than it is for the traditional agency to execute a meaningful online campaign.

Even though it seems like the digital agency has a Titanic-sized advantage, some advice for all the clients out there:

The smart agency will frame this conversation around YOU.  It's really not about the agency at all.  It's about which provider adds the most value to achieving your objectives.  If that's two retired newspaper editors, so be it.  If it's a co-founder of the next Twitter, that's cool too.