Future of Social, Digital Shops In Doubt

Europe-ACompanies talk a lot about fully integrated marketing strategies. One result may be the demise of stand-alone specialist shops, such as social media and digital agencies.

A new study from European business school Mediaschool Group, polled 2,000 marketing students across Europe and found that 80% believe that stand-alone social media and digital marketing agencies will disappear within 10 years. The study was conducted in March and April.

The study also found that 70% believe the marketing landscape will become dominated by content marketing and “PR thinking,” with a focus on creating brand trust.

But while digital continues to transform the marketing landscape, TV isn't going away any time soon, per the survey. It found that nearly 70% disagreed that TV advertising would be “irrelevant” in 10 years, and 70% believe that in 10 years the role of advertising will be mostly to “entertain,” and not to “sell.”

Some 77% percent said that Facebook is the most important social media tool a brand can use to communicate to millennials. And only 40% agreed with a recent statement by WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell that Twitter was not an advertising medium.

While millennials are often considered the first generation of “digital natives,” the survey sample disagreed. Seventy percent said it’s the generation 10 years behind them that represents “true digital natives."

“This next generation of marketing leaders clearly has a strong point of view on the future they will shape and create,” stated Anne Pflimlin, director of the Mediaschool Group. “It’s clear to them that the questions of silos and channels don’t exist.”

Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, stated that the study “underlines just how rapidly digital is becoming an integral part of everything we do,” and is also “indicative of how even our new talent should not be complacent when it comes to new, emerging and existing ways to connect with the consumer.” 

6 comments about "Future of Social, Digital Shops In Doubt".
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  1. Chris Pape from Genuine Interactive, May 21, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.

    Being a digital agency owner the headline caught my attention. I think that the perspective of the students interviewed really means that they view digital advertising on the whole as broken - not really just agencies. With so many traditional agencies transitioning to digital agencies but still using tactics leftover from the print and TV, millennials are bound to be frustrated. There are plenty of great digital shops doing digital strategy the right way. Focusing on content, engagement and responding to the user. I predict the opposite of this report...but I understand why the students who were surveyed are frustrated with the current state.

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, May 22, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.

    @Chris...Very well written response, and I, too, wouldn't place much stock in the students' predictions - but for another reason. Where digital (indeed all of the big-reach media) has most failed to perform is as a effective branding medium. In fact, anyone whose media pedigree doesn't predate 1995 has literally never seen an effective branding model. That model died the moment the cable guys were let in the TV tent. Network primetime programs that garnered 25 ratings back in the 1980s, now pray for a 3 rating, and a 3 rating just can't get the branding job done.

    The fact is, and the math will prove, that more choice reduces scale. That's why the Beverly Hillbillies 50 years ago, with only two other programs in the same time period to compete with, played to an audience of 60MM Americans each week. The only place to reach that many potential viewers (aka branding prospects) now in a single shot is in the SuperBowl. Trouble is, super or not, we've all turned a blind eye to the commercials, wherever they appear. As for Facebook, I defy anyone reading this to recall a single ad they've ever seen, let alone responded to, on this branding pig in a poke.

  3. Bruce May from Bizperity, May 22, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.

    What you are really saying is that digital strategies and tactics are becoming so ingrained in all our marketing strategies and approaches that the distinction between digital and traditional marketing is becoming a misnomer. I agree. We focus on integrated strategies that utilize all the tools and methods that have been developed throughout the histroy of marketing. I only hope that this is how they are teaching our profession in colleges and universities. If a shop or agency insists that it is one or the other (traditional or digital) they will likely disappear but digital is here to stay, fully integrated with traditional approaches.

  4. Leslie Singer from SingerSalt, May 22, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.

    Ideas and delivering measurable results by any means possible is what it's all about. Complicating that strategy with silo's or thinking that one discipline is more important that another is fools folly. Customers are everywhere and a smart messaging systems find them wherever they are - on their phone or on their couch or reading a newspaper. The idea that there is a digital world versus a traditional one is getting old. It's one world and it ALL matters. Soon we will go full circle and choose agencies based on brilliant ideas instead of their tech wizardry and 'integrated' prowess.

  5. Frank O'brien from Conversation, LLC, May 22, 2013 at 1:59 p.m.

    Couldn't have said it better @Leslie. Also, to take it one step forward, the agency that has the infrastructure to produce services vs deliver others from a third party will steal the show in our opinion. Released a white paper on this very subject - http://www.convoagency.com/marketing2020 - based on our agency that is 5yo with infrastructure, a solid base, and track record. It's only a matter of time ;)

  6. Chris Pape from Genuine Interactive, May 22, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.

    Did the Beverly Hillbillies really play to 60MM?! Hilarious and awesome.

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