Remember the days of power suits and lengthy liquid lunches?  Ah, the 80s, a golden era in advertising for many, when everything was big from the hair to the ad agencies themselves. Those were the days when the mighty ad agency tackled the whole shebang: marketing, advertising and PR. But now with the advent of new media upsetting things, full service is fast becoming an outmoded concept. Services have become fragmented and agencies are more boutique in style and specialised. 

The biggest game-changer to agency life has been the advent of the internet. There’s a proliferation of information and advice for any company wishing to have a go at doing their own communications. Expertise through training and blogs is so easily accessible, enabling anyone to go from zero to hero in getting their brand out there for the world to see and engage with. Costs are a deciding factor too and it’s now getting more common for clients to bring all the services they need in-house, as budgets get squeezed.


A lot of agencies are downsizing and becoming more specialised

What we have now is a world of communications that’s working hard at being leaner and staying smarter. While the do it yourself method has its appeal, there’s no substitute for specialists. For they are the ones who can deal with the complexities of each specialism day in and day out and are continually learning new tricks of the trade to get results.

The world is changing at breakneck speed with information, knowledge and processes shared and decisions made faster than ever before. This together with the rise of the work life balance and remote working or telecommuting has broken down traditional barriers. Agencies needn’t have rigid departments any more but can assemble a network of the finest freelance specialists from anywhere in the world.  In the future, it’s is probable that we will see more flexible working as agencies see the cost and time efficiencies of drawing upon the best pool of talent at a moment’s notice.


Fresh insightful content is king

Web content has to be original and is your passport to high ranking in Google’s search results and the lifeblood of digital marketing. But true originality has to come from fresh insight. In marketing the best insight inevitably can only be garnered from the client, who has the highest level of industry experience and brand awareness. With content continuing to be king, we can expect the shift from agencies generating content towards clients assuming this role in marketing campaigns.


The agency as a trainer

As we have touched on before specialist expertise is set to be agencies’ biggest asset as they get smaller and more bespoke and marketing communications more fragmented.  To set each one apart from one another, agencies will need to demonstrate their level of skill in each area. They will need to first and foremost show their ability to work well in supporting clients.  Some of the top agencies illustrate their prowess effectively through various platforms including blogs, webinars, workshops and training courses.

As you can see the changing times are steadily blurring the lines between the relationship of the client and the agency and the expectations of what an agency is.  It is an exciting and challenging time ahead for all of us as we adapt to a spot of soul-searching and reinvention.