Jennifer Michelsen is the C0-Founder of Gunnar Optiks ,who make killer digital glasses for those of us who stare at screens all day. The other day on Twitter we were having trouble talking in 140 characters, which got me to thinking. Here’s a bit of that conversation and what that chat inspired.
Idris Mootteblogs atInnovation Playground. I read his blog regularly because of his broad perspective and intelligent view on the world. Well, that and he puts great pictures in his posts. And simple minds…well, I forget the saying.
In a post this week called The Rise And Fall And The Coming Transformation Of Madison Avenue. What About The Future Of Advertising?Idris spins a cautionary tale about the current state of the marketing industry and it’s one worth listening to.
We’re in a time that I’ve repeatedly compared to the golden hour in emergency medicine.
Remember the mid 90s in advertising?As the internet became a relevant marketing channel, clients asked, so what do we do about the web? and a lot of agencies stared at their feet.They didn’t have a good answer that really served the client—for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that digital media didn’t fit the traditional agency infrastructure.As a result, marketing became more fragmented.Nothing truly integrated, although it was widely promised in many a pitch.
Digital agencies became adept at analytics and tracking ROI where traditional media just didn’t have the same capability for measurement.Traditional agencies offered up web “solutions” put through their specific filters.Web shops tried to work out branding in lieu of traditional agencies and the geeks just didn’t deliver.So the client was left with competing (and contrasting) advisors each vying for their attention (and their wallets); while customers went off into their own corner and started talking about the brand.
To date, no one’s been able to bring these disparate groups back together; and we’re on a collision course that’s going to fundamentally change the way marketing is done.
Here are some of Idris’ observations:
In just a few years, you can expect the whole advertising industry to be in full crisis mode, driven by continuous innovation.”
Forward-thinking marketers are embracing new models, which are being shaped by digital media.”
Twenty-first century marketing will instead be only about customer engagement and adaptively integrated marketing (not a new word but hardly delivered by agencies).”
Big marketers such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever are expressing frustration with the way ad and marketing firms are structured.”
Many marketers say it is tough getting different agencies to understand the new world order, let alone [work] together.”
Next week there’s a new series on this blog profiling some agencies who’ve heard these warnings and are doing something about it.
I don’t have a name for it yet, but it was borrowed, with permission from Aaron Strout at Powered and his series called Experts in our Industry.You can check it out at http://blog.stroutmeister.com/to see what I ripped off.
And thanks, Aaron for your advice and input on kicking this off!
I hope this new series is useful to you as a reader. I hope it starts a lot of discussions. I hope you’ll invite your friends, clients and colleagues to subscribe. And, most of all, I hope it brings a lot of recognition to some pretty smart people who deserve to be emulated.
To those of you who’ve been participating or just following along as Hitch comes to life, I appreciate your eyeballs and interest and the countless discussions, phone calls, emails & meetings over coffee and beers.
It’s a wonderful experience to involve so many bright minds from the across the country (and literally across the world) in intellectually stimulating and challenging discussions; both philosophical & practical about the nature of marketing.We’ve shared books, blogs, pdfs, videos, tweets and text messages.
What’s come out of these discussions is a new kind of marketing resource for companies.Hitch connects you with your marketing dream team:specialists ranging from brand strategists, ad agencies, experiential marketers, word of mouth firms, branded entertainment, digital conversationalists, app/widget developers and more.At their core, Hitch and its growing roster of companies share a pioneering spirit and a penchant for calculated risks as well as a commitment to accompany marketers through this evolving media environment.
A new breed of marketer is evolving from the ashes of traditional models. Together, brand and customer become futurists and innovators who support, encourage, and engage the collaborative discussions and co-creation happening in online communities, coffee shops, dorm rooms and board rooms around the world.
Business relationships are gold so I’ll do my part to keep up the conversations we’ve begun; I ask you to do the same.This dialogue can only benefit all of us and the trade of marketing we all love.
Thank you for your input and suggestions. Thanks also for challenging me and cheering me on.I’m off to SXSW Interactive in a few short weeks and back to put the finishing touches on Hitch.
This post began as a comment on a post at Agency Spy.
But because I didn’t want to get on soapbox on their comments boards I posted it here. This will explain the bulletpoints. Read on people:
Small business has and will always be the backbone of US business. Advertising is no different. And as such there is still a ton of business out there to be had. So the industry shrinks 10%. 15% 20%. That still leaves billions in advertising spending in this country. Yes, even in this economy, good, creative marketing happens every day. And pitches go to the ones who can demonstrate the smartest use and best value for their client’s dollars.
Budgets are being cut: true
Clients need to do more with less: true. By the way, they have no choice. Don’t you think they’d rather have $2 million for that campaign instead of $900K?
If you wait around to be invited to a pitch by the large search firms you’re SOL: Mostly true – if you’re a small to midsized agency–you’re the first to go.
Advertising is changing (again). Agencies need to change with it. Smaller agencies are better positioned to be able to shift rapidly. Adaptable, smaller agencies will see a disproportionate number of wins coming at them that before may have looked only at the large shops.
Historically agencies have done a really crappy job, operationally, of making meaningful changes that will position them to prosper when budgets constrict. As agency people we don’t take our own advice! If a client wouldn’t hear this–we’d declare them idiots and institutionally slow.
It also helps to have some perspective. 10 years ago when the dot com bubble burst, people were prognosticating doom and seeing whole revenue streams dry up. What happened was new revenue streams began. Even at a trickle it’s a great time to get on board with a client who you may have indentified in the past as not offering a big enough piece of pie to be worthy of your time. Let the big guys kill each other over the multi million dollar accounts. If a $25 million account is all you’re interested in, it may be a long time before you eat!
Specifically, business development is covered by Steve Boehler of Mercer Island Group, Tim Williams of Ignition Consulting Group and Dave Beals of Jones Lundin Beals.And it’s worth the read.If your shop implemented half of the good advice present in on those few pages, you’d go a long way toward insuring a better year for your agency and your clients.
But I think these guys stopped short, so with apologies to Dave, Tim and Steve, I’d like to add to their wiki of ad agency new business knowledge.
They write about developing a differentiated product (Tim’s brilliant) and putting as much thought into your RFPs as you do your campaigns, and articulating value.(Dave wrote the book, literally, on agency compensation).Theatrics over real selling, and shoring up your existing client relationships (Steve’s been preaching this a long time)!But I never read where any of theses gentlemen talked about the agency business as a relationship business.
I’ll say it again.This is a relationship business.And let’s face it, if you’re not face to face with your clients you’re missing a lot!“We regularly check in via teleconference and Skype”, you say.“I send my AE, she’s great”, you say.Fine, but Mrs. or Mr. Agency CEO, that’s your job.It’s what you promised your client when you were first dating.Remember?
Yes, we can work across the country and technology has changed what’s possible in the business world.But there are some things, like taking the pulse of a relationship, instincts, gut feeling and handshakes that technology will never change or replace.What about all the unspoken?How do you read body language over the phone?Being in your client’s space is valuable information you can’t afford not to know.Walk in their shoes.What’s a day like for them?What barriers come between them and their agency that they’ve got no control over?It’s so easy for us to think that the work we’re doing on our clients’ behalf is THE most important thing they have to do every day.It’s not.
Think of other relationships you’re aware of outside of business.Sure there are stories of Internet dates, people meeting once, falling in love and being together 50 years.But they’re rare!Would you have agreed to a date with your S.O if all your communication had been over the phone and through Fed Ex?OK then.The same goes for prospects and suspects.
Remember the relationship.This year as your putting your strategic plans in place, plan on more face time with your clients; if you don’t someone else will.And there are a lot of hungry shops out there eager to show your favorite client just how short sighted your agency has been with their account.