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Will AdLand Self-Adjust?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In economics, mostly around the debate about the free market and the "invisible hand," there is a concept about self-adjustment. The primary belief is that when market players are left alone, without rigorous regulative measures or external activities (i.e., natural disasters, world-changing events), the market will self-adjust to a new normalcy. 

An equilibrium, if you will.

The market provides the good or service that the consumer wants at the highest level of their willingness to pay.

We believe that many advertising and marketing professionals live with the same belief for our industry. We see these waves of agency consolidation; we see the scramble to deplete agency rosters, just to bolster them back up years later after many brands and organizations overreacted with their bottom lines.

But does this current wave of industry consolidation feel a little different? Especially with the Information Age hanging over the heads of holding group companies, and the lack of advertising generalists to break off and create teams of competition, this could be the very shrinking of the advertising and marketing industry.

Instead, we see more of the same — more digital "natives," more inbound marketers, and more people creating smaller holding groups because they see the benefit of being a part of one, yet don't want to be part of a huge one. As agencies create cookie-cutter shops and methodologies, nothing stands in the way of holding groups buying more agencies just to increase the portfolio, or for agencies to merge in order to compete at a high level.

And brands continue to struggle with understanding the value of not just advertising, but marketing and advertising agencies as well. AdFolks are consistently asked to do more for less, and because of that, fewer brighter people are willing to make that commitment.

And maybe that's a good thing. Perhaps the industry needs that form of self-adjustment.

Yet, we wonder. 


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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