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It Always Takes You So Long to Get Ready

March 1st, 2007

What happens when the ad industry and its clients don’t see eye-to-eye? Apparently, ADWEEK writes a little tiny article about it that doesn’t get much play. I love the smell of partiality in the morning.

In this case, a new poll from Forrester Research called “Help Wanted: 21st Century Agency” shows that less than half (45 percent) of marketing executives (clients) think ad agencies are well positioned to adapt to changes in Internet advertising. In a not-at-all surprising turn of events, 95 percent of agencies think they are well positioned.

The poll also showed that interactive and digital advertising was the area for which most clients sought specialty agencies while social media and ethnic marketing were the areas specialty agencies were least sought.

So what does this mean for the marketing industry and its agencies? In my mind, it means that clients should start looking for more dynamic, more resourceful specialty agencies. Notice I didn’t say ad agencies. I didn’t even say PR agencies.

This new breed of agency – the one that is fully able to adapt to changes in the industry – won’t look or act like the NW Ayer & Son of days past. They won’t even look like today’s giants. Instead, they will have a cross-discipline focus that doesn’t center on ad vs. article, but on forging a new path of communication.

It’s something I’ve been playing around with for a while. When people ask about Braithwaite, “PR” is the most common answer. But when I look at what we’re billing, only a fraction of the time is spent on actual media relations. Instead, we’re helping our clients to better articulate who they are and what they do through storytelling, internal communications and alignment, blogs, podcasts and variety of other tactics that were never before thought to be “PR.”

A great businessperson once said, “The most important part of an organizational chart is the white space in between.” I’m starting to think the same applies to the marketing industry.

Posted Under: Agency Insider, Public Relations
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