Madison Avenue Crystal Ball for 2011
If you think 2011 will be the same as this year, get ready to strap on an extra seat belt. The agencies that thrive in the future will succeed by helping their clients navigate these turbulent times, building brands that consumers wish to engage.
Madison Avenue pundits have been predicting the end of ad agencies for a long time. Ad agency trends have been unfolding before our eyes. We have already seen top creative directors leaving the best agencies to find their souls. Issues range from expensive RFP processes forcing ad agencies to shut down their “pitch” to new crowdsourcing models (a.k.a. “squirrel fights”). As Forrester said in March, 2010, agencies are “entering into the great race for relevance”.
The coming year is about more change. Ad agencies that can manage and navigate through changes of seismic proportions will win. Period. The high rate of change keeps us from seeing the future. Clearly, digital will increase in importance as will social media. Traditional media (still important) will continue to decline but will not go away anytime soon. More and more dollars will be spent in marketing and the digital/social media space in 2011.
As we turn the page on 2010, here are Blue Focus Marketing’s Top 11 Predictions for ad agencies.
- Social media gains greater speed: Agencies will make better use of social media marketing tools to generate new business leads. As more and more agencies look for ways to use social media to benefit clients, they will begin to use these tools to win new business. Agencies will be more willing to take the lead in helping clients prove the value of social media and to measure initiatives. Who better to take the lead in leveraging social media?
- Outsourcing continues to gain speed: A.K.A. the squirrel fight — will reign on. A core team of executives can collaborate and coordinate literally across the globe for great talent – at a good price. Case in point: Victors & Spoils recent dramatic Harley-Davidson assignment win.
- Agency strategic integration skills become more critical: Agencies will get better at managing and leveraging the multiplicity of media options available. Traditional media, fragmented media, and earned media are all important and integration across a myriad of channels becomes a greater challenge. Ad agencies can increase their value by helping clients make sense of a dizzying array of paid and unpaid opportunities.
- The New (Hybrid) Ad Agency: the debate rages on about the shift from traditional agencies to more digital focus (so-called “tradigital” shops) moving in the direction of hybrid and crowdsourced models. In all cases, ad agencies will sharpen their strategic focus, produce content on a wider scale and use consumer insights to better understand targets. The quest for the best operating model will continue throughout 2011 and beyond.
“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence –
only in constant improvement and constant change.”
- Agency strategic partner role to increase: Marketing and strategy will become even more important. Agency contributions in these critical areas will enhance new business opportunities, revenue and profit.
- Chief orchestrator role becomes vital: Ad agency roles will include a “chief orchestrator” to manage the customer experience across a myriad of channels and media. Hence, strategic integration of social media into media plans will continue at a rapid rate. Media planners not only add value but will be regarded in a more positive light due to their knowledge, insights, and planning mastery.
- Blogging continues to explode: Today’s 200 million + blogs are just the starting point. In 2011, agencies will make better use of agency blogs while helping clients leverage this medium. Marketers will use blogs to communicate their brand story, key messages and develop compelling content people actually want to read. Blogs present an enormous outlet for creative thinkers to reinforce positive brand perceptions and create entirely new connections. The opportunities abound.
- May the best (digital) talent win: Technology will continue to increase in importance. Nearly everything is digital and agencies with the best digital talent will win vs. agencies who are not up-to-speed. An agency’s “digital smarts” will help drive strategic direction for clients.
- Traditional media will continue to decline: No, it won’t disappear but the digital space will see the most impact and growth again next year. Mobile advertising will continue to heat-up. Targeted display advertising in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will flourish. Newspapers will continue attempts to charge for online content as they work to crack the code. Perhaps their efforts would be better served focusing on creating content that attracts and retains readers and advertisers.
- Greater engagement in social media to win new business: Think impact. More ad agency staffers will actually open Twitter accounts and begin to realize the enormous opportunity to share valuable content, network and generate high value new business leads. Instead of saying “hey, I have a Twitter account” the smart agency staffer says “I use Twitter as a valuable tool to help win new business.” Engaging in social media also says that the picture has changed from one centered around share of voice to a new measure: share of influence. SOI is a new, ever-expanding dimension of marketing program management. Agencies will be more aware of the importance of gaining and exerting influence, realizing that influence builds with each passing tweet, retweet, post or update.
- Ad agencies apply creativity throughout the enterprise: the best ad agencies will be engaged with clients at the early product development stages, helping to brainstorm, refine and launch new products. Agencies will begin to apply their vast creative resources (creative smarts) throughout the enterprise for everything from new product ideas to creating entirely new business models. Such efforts will strengthen the client/agency partnership.
The following video demonstrates the continuing need for change in the ad agency business. This video asks ad agency executives to: “wake up to the employment changes they face and retool, relearn and retrain.” (Source: FITC).
Source: Marketing Degree
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Great post Cheryl!
I think you are spot on, the only thing I would expand on is under the “chief Orchestrator” role, or maybe there needs to be a “Chief Data & Technology Curator” role added.
I believe there is a need to sort through & guide clients as to which information they need to pay attention too when it comes to interactive media, advertising & digital marketing. With so much technology, data, social networks, apps, experts, websites, etc., it can either be overwhelming or just plain noise.
I think Ad agencies & marketing firms can lead the way by providing valuable guidance, not only in the area of marketing strategy & branding, but also into the channels/services that carry the message.
In an age where information/technology/platforms increase daily and everyone claims to be the best, there need to be leaders that can sort through it all, simplify & execute the right solutions for their clients that produce results, not just theories.
I may be rambling on about something that is inferred in your post, if so I apologize! 🙂 It is well written with substance that I appreciate!
Keep up the great work!
Thank you for your reply. Love the idea about a “Chief Data & Technology Curator” role! Also agree there is a huge opportunity for ad agencies and marketing firms to add greater value to their clients through leadership and innovation. There seems to be an overabundance of data in the marketplace as opposed to information.
I couldn’t agree more with your point about the high rate of change in this market space and “everyone claims to be the best”. Indeed, in this fast paced environment, real leaders and true innovators are needed to distill knowledge from data and to make it actionable.
You’re the best!
I find a little narrow-sighted a post talking about the future of ad agencies that doesn’t mention multi-cultural trends.
What will happen with the total market approach and the new but very profitable cross-cultural business? Many general market agencies are moving forward with offering a multi-cultural advertising options (CP+B, Draft FCB, Ogilvy, TRG) but why doesn’t it deserve a mention here?
According to Nielsen, Hispanics over-index whites on usage of mobile internet, SMS, mobile video, and picture downloads and African-Americans way over-index whites on Twitter. More people in the USA speak Spanish than in Spain.
When is this issue going to be addressed over the table?
Excellent points in your reply about the importance of multicultural marketing and advertising. You are one step ahead of me in that we are working on a new blog now that includes some of the points in your reply.
Understanding and acting upon multicultural trends (and serving multicultural needs) is a critical part of the marketing strategy.
Great, great post, you hit it right on the nail. Coming from an Advertising Agency that is specialized in “print material” we have seen a huge change in business. Social media has changed the way we communicate and the way we do business. In the last few years we have seen the need to compliment our type of services by adding social media consulting and by working hard to become strong in the web development field. This is where the client demand is! We need to be there and we need to have strong presence.
By the same token, we as an agency need to use social media to win new business and to help brand our name. Like you said, traditional media will continue to decline, to it is important that we stay up to date with the times and have the wisdom to see what those changes mean to us!
So I raise my “cup of coffee” this morning and toast to your bullet # 8: “May the best (digital) talent win!
We speak to a lot of agencies that have recently discovered the power of social media for their clients – and themselves. One of the latest bright spots for print media is called QR (quick response) codes. These codes are being used by marketers (first in Japan) and now in the U.S., e.g., recent Ford ad in the NYTimes, etc. To learn more, here is a link to a QR code generator: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ .
There are numerous opportunities to use social media to help ad agencies win new business. Best of luck and please check out our latest series of ad agency new business consulting reports at http://www.bluefocusmarketing.com/servicesReports.php
Great content. I love the youtube video. There is one thing that is missing, or at least, I can ‘t find them. Where are your social share buttons on this blog? I have located the feed subscriber which guides me to google reader. I am looking for like buttons and retweet buttons. Did I miss anything?
I like “the great race for relevance” from Forrester as it captures exactly what is going on in advertising. Some firms are going to define and manage new subcategories and be winners. Others will adapt and many others will become irrelevant. This race and how to win and avoid losing is the subject of my new book Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant. davidaaker.com
Thank you for your comments. Agree that creation of innovative offerings is what makes brands truly distinctive in the marketplace. For example, Apple creates products that are so innovative, so absolutely “cool” they drive demand. Microsoft created their version of the iPod MP3 player [Zune] and even though it compares on a feature-by-feature basis, the relevance of the Apple brand combined with the cool factor has relegated Zune to less than 5% market share. Making the Zune, in effect, irrelevant. I look forward to your new book on Brand Relevance.
Great post Cheryl. I enthusiastically agree with 10 of your 11 bullets. However, I question your conclusion in bullet #1 that agencies are best suited to leading social media initiatives on behalf of their clients. While I believe that agencies should be at the table with the clients planning strategic use of social channels, in an environment that rewards transparency and value, I think that social communication needs to originate with the brand.
Certainly, the agency should be providing insights as to how best to leverage social channel opportunities, but we advertisers are not highly rated on trust by consumers who have an almost uncanny ability to recognize authenticity.
Thanks for your comments. I agree with your point that it is important for social communication to originate with the brand. I do believe that more agencies will be willing to take the lead in this area. It is in the best interests of both parties to succeed. Agree that “trust” is issue #1.
Mark and Cheryl—great post and I love your site and tweets!!!!
My resolution: to leverage the digital space, new media and technology to improve the quality of healthcare. From physician education to patient compliance, the world is ready for this revolution. But perhaps, and more importantly, need this revolution as the nature of healthcare (including healthcare reform) demand a greater connections among all the stakeholder!!!! Doctors need to be smarter, patients need to be better informed, caregivers need to be more pragmatic, payors need to be sensitive…and the list goes on!!!
I was seroisuly at DefCon 5 until I saw this post.
Great post, fascinating ideas and a provocative video. Thanks for sharing it.
Watching local news at 11pm this weekend, I counted 13 TV ads. 11 of them were car ads. That’s 85%. If almost 11 out of 13 ads are all saying the same things, is anyone listening? Of course not.
Thanks, Cheryl! I’ll be using this in my opening class of marketing in two weeks!
great post but i have got a query
how can we use social media in a newspaper ad agency??
Superb message, I actually look ahead to updates from you.
Social media is playing important role in internet marketing and companies are spending good amount of money on social media marketing. Similarly on internet small business can get done social media marketing on small budget. brand development
Even the blog comments at this blog are longer than posts at many blogs. Thus I’d say this blog has got some reputation in the niche of ad Agency.