Are Ad Agencies A Thing Of The Past?

The emergence of new technologies has provoked change in the way advertisers tailor targeted campaigns and develop creative content. Advertising transactions have become increasingly programmatic, and even more recently, creative projects are being sourced through creative crowdsourcing sites, like 99designs, Tongal and Boom Ideanet.

Ideal working relationships have become more about on demand, efficient services and less about paying for business when you don’t actually need it.

This reality, coupled with technology playing a more dependable role, makes us question the life expectancy of the ad agency as we know it.

The agency model is based on hours sold for completing work deemed billable, and clients are never happy with paying several hundred dollars for an hour of work fixated on effort. Creative can be done by machines, and once you surpass the automation stage, there are freelancers or networks you can begin to tap as resources.



Campaigns conceptualized through these channels will start with production and yield cheaper, faster and superior results. Consequently, the declining agency will provide more room for consulting firms, such as Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton or Deloitte to prosper.

A prevailing idea is that marketing and advertising automation will lead to the obsolescence of the human function. We’re constructing robots with comprehension levels more than capable of doing work in various fields beyond the human sector.

Robots and other forms of artificial intelligence are created by humans, and a degree of brilliancy from people great at their craft will be visible —no matter how far automation proliferates. But unlike humans, robots never get sick or go on vacation. Machines are always on and will undeniably be more efficient than the designer who created them.

This ultimately leads to the changing role of today’s CMO.

At one point, many CMOs existed as brands in their own right. Sought after for their prestige, many title holders leveraged acclaim in efforts to promote their brand. When data became king, the CMO role had to be redefined with less visibility and more liability. Thus, a developing responsibility became ensuring these machines – employing data and analytics to drive campaigns – are kept in check as they generate creative deliverables.

From a job title heavily based on status that has adopted a data supervisory component, we’re seeing today’s CMOs welcoming a modified job description as we come closer to a world where robots are capable of driving marketing and advertising functions.

As we progress toward a data-driven economy and society, marketing success will be measured solely by results labor yields, as opposed to being influenced by the buffers of effort or administrative work.

Our prognosis for the agency life is not looking too good. The model based on billing hours for unnecessary work and creating demand for services offered won’t stand a chance against advances humans create to produce instant results.

The remedy to rebuild your value in the crumbling industry is to construct your business on the platform of data and automation, the future of advertising as we know it.

3 comments about "Are Ad Agencies A Thing Of The Past?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 19, 2016 at 12:18 p.m.

    "Creative can be done by machines"---really?

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, December 19, 2016 at 4:57 p.m.

    Creative can be done by machines ... once all the marketing is done by machines.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 19, 2016 at 5:55 p.m.

    Bots selling to bots. Unparalled. 

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