18 months ago I wrote about predictions for the future of digital in creative agencies whilst working with Marketing Consultancy Firm TrinityP3. Since then I’ve returned to agency life and been able to assess the accuracy of those predictions.

1. The death of the ‘digital’ job title

“Smarter agencies are skilling-up their “traditional” teams and dropping these job titles. At the same time they are realising that sometimes they need additional areas of expertise to handle the multi-faceted nature of digital.”

The next generation of marketers have digital DNA and are already here.

Since I started working in agencies I’ve had ‘digital’ in my job title - even at TrinityP3 I was a Senior Digital Consultant, even though I never worked on a digital project. Now at Havas Melbourne I don’t have digital in my job title - no one does -  and we have no Head of Digital in our Australian operation. Why? Because we are all (already) digital. We are also all creative. We are also all media. We are also all strategic - There’s no need to call attention to something that is inherent in the way we behave.

2. The digital agency as a credible threat

“Assuming some digital agencies have the creative confidence to pull it off, they represent a very credible threat to the traditional creative agency. After all, a TVC is not a big leap for the social media agency creating viral videos. Outdoor advertising is a banner ad that doesn’t animate and a brochure is a one page website that doesn’t need cross browser testing.”

When I mentioned this prediction to the digital agency I had in mind when I first wrote this article their response was surprising.  While some of their video content had ended up as TV commercials, they didn’t enjoy doing that work, felt it was a distraction from their core business and had no ambition to take on the more “traditional” marketing landscape.

Having been exposed to the full strategic and creative capabilities of a global agency group, I think I may have called this one too early. The reality is that big, brand-building multi-touchpoint campaigns require a complex balancing of message and medium across multiple touchpoints that is beyond the interest and capability of most digital agencies.

3. The end of the “Yes we can make that!” attitude

“Smart agencies don’t try to pass off highly technical experts as their own. They do what they do best – know the brand, the client and the customer – and outsource the rest. They help the client manage this relationship and get the best outcome for the brand.”

Not surprisingly, Havas as the fifth largest agency in the world has more than a few technical experts and practitioners on hand.  Havas very successfully creates an amazing array of technical solutions to client brand problems every day with a permanent technical team with the right skill-sets to get the job done.

But any agency that doesn’t have an in-house (and I mean in-house, not sometimes freelance) development team shouldn’t be tackling any sort of web or software build that’s going to require ongoing, or even sporadic maintenance. Both the client and agency are in for a  world of pain if they do.

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