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Are Ad Agencies Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

By John McTigueAug 28, 2009

ad agencies are going the way of the dinosaurIt sure seems that way. A year ago a survey of CMO's revealed that 2/3 were planning to reduce their advertising budgets and move resources into digital/interactive. If anything, the economy in 2009 has made life even tougher for traditional ad agencies. What's going on here?

  1. We're evolving: Consumers are driving the marketplace, not advertising and marketing executives. We demand quality and consistency from brands, and our trust must be earned. Brands must re-tool themselves as reliable, effective, safe and economical. We don't go for fluff much anymore.
  2. Advertising has become a dirty word: It has become, literally, a necessary evil to support content on the various media. Consumers still respond to advertising when it's clever or heart-warming, but it doesn't drive them to buy like it used to. Some forms of advertising, like pop-up ads on the Web, are universally hated and drive people away from brands.
  3. The company/agency relationship has soured: As businesses of all sizes become more familiar with inbound marketing and other strategies with measurable results, they are less willing to pay monthly retainers for undefined services and poorly established goals. This trend is seen across all types of consulting. Executives want to know what you're going to do, when, and how much it's going to cost. And they want measurable ROI on top of that.
  4. We're going social, and it's not just a trend: Everybody knows how fast social networking is growing, but many (if not most) marketing executives still think this trend will fizzle eventually, and we'll be back to business as usual. Don't count on it. What's driving Web 2.0 and social networking is (again) cultural evolution. We don't want direct mail and TV ads and e-mail spam. We want discussion and tips and recommendations from real people we meet in real life and online. We will not be satisfied with going back to the old ways, even if the technologies change. Twitter and Facebook may go away someday, but something even more social will replace them.

What's your experience with ad/marketing agencies these days?

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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