As the commercial Internet space as evolved over the past two decades the businesses that exist to help others navigate the tricky waters have as well.
Initially, traditional ad agencies were harassed by smaller and more nimble digital agencies who did all the ‘neat-o cool’ whiz bang Internet stuff. SEO, PPC and other acronyms helped to spawn the type of agency that focused their efforts directly where their traditional competition was weakest and they have benefited for many years through that strategy.
As with most things in life though balance is a critical measure of effectiveness. It appears now that the digital agencies are being called to look at becoming more traditional to succeed.
eMarketer reports on a study conducted by RSW/US which looked at clients’ attitudes towards agency make-up regarding traditional v. digital and found the following:
I love to watch as things come full circle in any aspect of life. Only after each extreme has been found to be lacking do most companies, organizations and just people in general come to rest somewhere between the extremes.
For years now the Internet industry has tried very hard to discredit and in some cases (newspapers for one) set out to destroy old models. In the process, the young upstart Internet types have thumped their chests and claimed superiority over traditional marketing methods.
To be blunt, anyone who is actually stupid enough to believe that the Internet will completely supplant more traditional means of advertising in the coming years is going to learn some hard lessons.
So why am I being so tough on the industry that I work and play in? It’s because there can be too much of a good thing. The Internet’s rise to prominence in the marketing space has been fantastic to say the least but it has also been devoid of logic and reason at times. The cries of making magazines, TV and other more traditional forms of media obsolete have been out of youthful exuberance rather than the dreaded reality word.
Now it’s time for the wise cracking, smart ass Internet marketing crew to come to terms with the idea of holistic marketing. It’s naïve to say that one thing or the other is superior in the marketing ecosystem. The fact is that they all play together and they will for a very long time to come. If the digital only crowd doesn’t come down from its high horse and realize that they may very well find the more traditional agency model coming back to bite them as they get themselves up to digital speed.
Look at how the split occurs when respondents were asked to say what types of agencies would win what types of work.
So what do agency seekers look for in when choosing an agency partner?
I would really like to get some more information about that “Other” response. My suspicion is that in an increasingly fast paced and time crunched world many businesses are looking for more ‘one stop shops’ so they don’t have to juggle multiple vendors. I am not saying that it’s a good or bad trend but you would have to figure that it is most desirable to keep vendor management to a minimum.
So what’s your take on the digital v. traditional agency evolution? Do you see digital agencies needing to backpedal in a sense to understand the things they swore they would make obsolete? Will the balance of traditional and digital marketing channels force the balance of agency providers as well?