The changing agency landscape and what it means for convergence

Sean Duffy, founder of the Duffy Agency and president of TAAN Europe, wrote a great article for Talent Zoo yesterday about the changing advertising agency landscape, and it’s actually a topic we’ve been discussing more and more at SJG also. Inspired by conversations during the San Jose Network’s annual conference the other week, Sean talks about the multitude of specialized agencies likely to work on any given account, and how that can lead to little, if any, accountability. I wanted to also add some thoughts to a couple of the points Sean brought up.

Convergence of specialized services
It’s interesting that Sean uses the word converge to talk about how specialized agencies might come together under one lead agency (if there were an advertising agency equipped for that role). At SJG, convergence has been the word of the year, and we’re hoping to evolve our traditional integrated marketing communications model to accomodate the idea. That means trying to eliminate the traditional silos that exist between advertising, consulting, public relations, media and creative, and bringing together the teams that need to be working more closely together. From the PR perspective, this might include:

  • Closer collaboration between media and public relations. We’re starting to think of these divisions as channel strategy and persuasive content to more accurately describe what they do, and in the evolving social media/digital world, it makes sense for the two to go hand in hand. As distributed content experiences gain popularity, the close connection between channel and content will require these teams to work together better.
  • Content creation by public relations and creative teams. With a greater variety of online and offline platforms to choose from, the partnership between public relations/communications teams and creative teams seems natural. Now more than ever, clients can benefit from a hybrid of promotional/advertising content and editorial-focused communications.

 

Independent agencies
We may be biased, but SJG believes strongly in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit and flexibility independent agencies have. That is, after all, why we founded the San Jose Network and partnered with TAAN. We’re proud that SJG has remained independent over the last 30 years, and having a network with equally skilled and agile independent agencies around the world is a model we strongly believe in. We hope more clients see the benefits of working with networks like SJN and TAAN, whose agencies can offer unparalleled local market knowledge without the overhead costs and corporate bureacracy they might sometimes encounter at the global conglomerates.

If you’re an agency, how are you adapting to the changing marketing landscape? As a client, what are your biggest struggles with agencies?

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