I received the following message from a connection through Linkedin. Hello, My latest position at an ad agency came to a close this week, as the company went out of business. I am forwarding you my LinkedIn profile in hopes that you or someone you know may be aware of job opportunities in advertising, marketing or social media. This request made me think about the “Agency business” and why is might be failing for those unaware.
Advertising agencies are known for the creative skills in creating images and messages that get people’s attention. They are also known for creating integrated ad campaigns using every kind of media imaginable. A lot of talented folks have created some of the best ads known on the planet.
Then Social Media Disrupts The Process!
There is a clear shift from mass media that creates attention to conversational media that keeps our attention. The difference is in the form and context of media, content in every form. You’d have to be living in a cave not to know how social media is changing market dynamics for every single industry. The dynamics have flipped from push to pull as have the thinking behind each underlying methods. Agencies who do not understand and master the methods will quickly fail to exist. Why? The anwser is simply because the market is demanding new methods which requires new thinking.
Is The Thinking Old Or New?
Renee Cassard writes “With social media, the importance of interaction has resurfaced. SM provides a vehicle in which the local, more personalized business transaction can be reintroduced into the mix. Previous mandates of telephone scripts and corporate liability statements have rendered these transactions dormant in more recent years. The introduction of social media gives corporations a wonderful opportunity to find someone who believes in them to represent their company. This is good for internal morale and for bringing the human element into the mix again. It engages consumers in more authentic, less scripted conversation. Mind you, this doesn’t mean a business should overlook the development of a social media strategy. Quite the opposite, actually. It simply means that in today’s world, social media gives companies the chance to value those who work for them and have passion about their company, products, and what they do. Who better than these people to interact with your consumer, or former “receiver” turned “sender” of your company’s message? “
“In the end, simple and classical business interactions are what lie at the foundations of social media, and ultimately will ensure its ongoing success. So when a client asks you about the “new” thing – social media – you might prompt them to consider whether it really is something scary and new, or something tried and true!”
Renee says it well. The essence of social media is relational rather than institutional. Relational communications has been the fiber of human interaction since the beginning of time. What has happened is that the market, and the thinking behind the market, has gotten away from relations and chased “tricks of the trade” aimed at getting our attention.
Our attention has shifted back to what is natural, relational and meaningful. Sometimes going “back to the future” means having to learn what makes relationships work. While being creative is part of the equation a meaningful conversation is the entire equation.
Agencies that don’t get this will die a fast death as will the companies they serve. Maybe agencies need help understanding this. Most agency web sites do not reflect any understanding of social media. Most agencies cannot even begin to explain social media. Most agencies have little experience using social media for themselves or their clients. That being the case most agencies are in trouble.
What is your opinion?