The agency part of AdLand has definitely been taking more than its fair share of blows. With the horizon of consolidation upon us, the trouble of attracting and retaining talent, and the problem of keeping and promoting minority talent all glaring issues, the agency leaders do not need outsiders debating their ill-fated future.
Yet, they do.
An interesting piece ran in the Economist that talked about the fall from grace that agencies have experienced, but why agencies and the people who fill them are not going away. From reading the article, and even though the writer had several credible sources cited, it seemed that their content was drummed up from writers from AMC than actual advertising professionals.
"Some see their martini glass as half empty." Poor form.
In any case, the writer did bring up interesting points. First, they are right that technology has really shaken up AdLand. We're still trying to figure out the "perfect" balance between old school habits, technology, creativity, and data-driven decisions. Second, because of the even slimmer profit margins for agencies, potential competitors will think twice about filling out the ranks. And third, the speed of the work continues to increase, and the amount of content needed continues to rise, so brands that have the budgets will continue to use agencies to manage the workload and provide counsel and extra sets of teams when needed.
Not all is lost.
And yet, advertising is still an incredibly exciting industry that people should enjoy. We only wish that people would stop wishing that parts of our industry would go away. That's just rude.
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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