It looks like the big issue of 2008 is going to be a variation on the age-old integration vs. specialism debate. Only this time round, my money is on both specialist and integrated agencies being forced to ramp up their Digital offering as it takes on an ever increasing share of marketing budgets and, in some cases the creative lead too.
This is obviously the direction that W+K have been heading in for some time and as Scamp wrote recently; ‘my guess is that Digital will not end up staying in separate agencies like DM has. We’ll all be doing it. I think this is going to start happening very very quickly and my advice is to get on board now.’
There’s another way of operating that has been around for a while that seems to be specific to big retail accounts – the TV goes to a high profile London ad agency, while the press work gets sent Up North to a largish integrated (we’re all integrated up here through necessity) agency. I’m sure the economics of this stack up nicely, but it does seem to devalue press as a medium and make the chances of a seamless campaign all the more remote.
I’ve blogged before about some medium sized clients that have neither the manpower, inclination (or in some cases ability) to co-ordinate their marketing efforts via a number of specialist agencies, making a one stop shop integrated agency their only option.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that our industry is never going to move towards one single model, but that change and variation is inevitable. Both agencies and clients expand and contract. For all we know, internal comms could be the Next Big Thing in 2008, with agencies scrambling to set up their own operations. Nothing is certain. But I’m looking forward to taking part in whatever happens.