What we all know as what an advertising agency is and what they do, is no longer a model that will survive in the future. Agencies of the past that called themselves “full service”, will have to change their culture, policies and business model in order to survive in the open system of digital connectivity.
This new open system available to clients, which includes access to an army of talented strategists, creatives, brand experts, freelancers and moonlighters from other agencies, is creating a huge problem for traditional ad agencies.
An article in the Harvard Business Review written by John Winsor and Jerry Wind about the radical democratization of the business is a perfect example of things to come. They wanted to land the Harley Davidson account after the motorcycle maker had ended their relationship with its long time agency. Instead of going through the traditional pitch process, they created a brief and posted it to its followers, consisting of more than 7,000 creatives and strategists. The response…Six hundred ideas flooded their office, of which the agency presented the 65 best to Harley. Needless to say, they got the account and the Harley theme of “No Cages” came from Whit Hiller, a Vespa dealer in Lexington, Kentucky.
What Jon and Jerry did is simple. They just thought outside the box and did something no other agency had done to win an account. The reality of the ad agency business is even clearer when we look at the opportunities for companies to build their brand loyalty, fans and buyers through social media. And, I am not just talking about Facebook, Tweeter, Pinterest or the other available social media sources out there, it’s about creating apps or developing our own communities of fans, innovation networks and online vehicles to provide clients with new tactics and measurable ways to improve their bottom line.
Whether is through Lead generation, customer retention programs, relationship building or customer acquisition strategies, the new agency model calls for professionals with strong marketing skills, a knack for understanding what moves consumers and believe in the responsibility to make every dollar work for its clients.