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March 23, 2011

Are Agencies Changing Fast Enough?

With the fragmentation of traditional TV audiences, the decline in print and newspaper advertising, the emergence of new marketing tactics, and the likelihood of all this change accelerating, are traditional ad agencies adapting fast enough?

Agencies are having their share of troubles. And in tough times, it’s very hard to change a business model (or a tried and true marketing tactic for that matter). People become so heavily vested in the way things are that they can’t bring themselves to believe the information that says the world is changing. I had a conversation this week with the head of marketing for a global consumer products company. They’re struggling with their agency of record, a big traditional one the name of which you’d certainly recognize. While the CPG company wants and needs help reaching their consumers through emerging channels like social media and increasingly at the store shelf, their current agency keeps pitching expensive TV and print campaigns. So the company is considering ending a longstanding relationship and switching the work to someone else.

The marketing landscape is changing very rapidly and I question whether or not traditional agencies will adapt. As author Jim Collins has pointed out, the mighty do fall. But for those who are ready to learn and adapt to new market realities, these times can be leveraged for incredible opportunity. Shopper Insights in Action 2011 sponsored IIR USA offers a peak into what the best and brightest are doing to reach consumers in new and better ways. I wonder if anyone from the traditional agencies will be attending…

Larry McManis, President
ThinkWay Strategies

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