Agencies under attack: How the middle man must evolve

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I'm a traditionally trained journalist. That is to say, I understand what it is to constantly be asked, "Are you obsolete?"

On my most time-pressed days, the answer is usually, "Yes. Yes, I am." Followed by a quiet sigh. But if you catch me on one of my more patient and time-permitting days, that answer might be followed by a lengthy "but..."

Journalists, like the publishers that employ them, find themselves in an "adapt or die" situation these days. What we once were -- even just five years ago -- is not what we are today. (At least, not if we're being honest with ourselves.) Our value has changed. It's still there -- but you have to know where to look and how to channel it. Our traditional role in society is, in fact, obsolete.

Journalists are not the only ones. The ad agency world faces many of the same threats -- both perceived and real -- in the evolving media landscape. Agency value is being challenged, tested, and debated. It's still there. But do you know where to look and how to channel it?

In an effort to better understand today's agency value -- and perhaps justify my own -- I reached out to industry leaders at agencies, brands, and other entities to get their perspectives on the greatest threats to today's agencies and how they can be combatted (if they can at all). Opinions varied, but no one denied the need for a transformation in the traditional agency model and mindset. Let's take a look at a few of the themes that emerged.

 

Comments

Bob Sanders
Bob Sanders August 20, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Great article, and some very valid points. The way forward is not clear, and it certainly doesn't resemble the past. The future belongs to those agencies that try the most to see what sticks. Having a clear and easy to understand expertise helps you survive and grow. Keep building strategic skills and understand the consulting methodology – those skills will greatly help you adapt and grow!

http://www.sandersconsulting.com/newbusinesshawk/typical-ad-agency-organizational-structure-alternatives