A cursory search around this topic will throw up various articles by trusted institutions like WARC and opinion pieces by industry thought leaders. You will find there is a common thread amongst all, that advertising and marketing agencies have no choice but to change. Onslaught of technologies in the recent years have impacted all aspects of our industry – from consumer behaviour to production and distribution.
There is also a marked difference in the expectations of clients from their agency partners. The recent announcement by P&G of another 50% cut from its roster agencies for 2018 is surely a warning sign. They will be moving more media capabilities in-house, not surprising considering how vocal they have been about the shortcomings of the media industry. They have also experimented with ‘outsourcing’ creative work resulting in significant financial savings. More clients can potentially follow this route, taking a toll on agency structure. Added to this is the aggressive move by management consultancies (like Accenture and Deloitte) to move into marketing and advertising (media and creative) space. Agencies are responding to this by upskilling their employees with consultancy capabilities.
The industry is gearing itself for the inevitable shopping ‘revolution’ with voice and smart shopping. Some experts opine this could be the end of brands. Even if not, brands will become more ‘utility oriented’ and this can be a challenge especially for FMCG brands where the differences in ‘utility’ between brands is usually minimal. Marketing and advertising agencies will need to dig deeper – both with regards to specifics of the product and the ‘real’ needs of the consumers – to formulate brand strategies that are truly differentiating.
But the basic principles of a brand/agency relationship will continue to be that of trust, collaboration and shared expertise. A look at the views expressed by the young client executives confirm this.