“Come together” – The John Lennon song by Aerosmith lingers in the background. A whiff of reality sinks in as I write this. Investments in technology within the marketing ecosystem increases day by day. All major holding groups are either setting up technology stacks or acquiring it to fast pace their efforts. Why this is happening? Today’s marketing function involves a complex blend of mathematician, designer, service specialist, creative and technologist – specialisms that have traditionally resided elsewhere. The traditional agency model is not working anymore and if one looks deeply enough it is very clear. It not because marketers and brands are not savvy enough, but for the fact that agencies have not changed a bit in their approach. We are still bull-headed in our thought and there is too much of bulk and inertia to be moved.
The only way to transformation will be to “come together” and really do that sitting side by side. As we try to buy precious face-time with our consumers both creative and media alone in isolation cannot fathom the fragmentation around us….fragmentation due to disruptive technology and the culture driven therein. Try explaining this to a 15 year old who insists on a personal device today rather than the gregarious TV watching schedule. While story telling still remains the most important aspect, but how and when you tell it have put spanner in the works. The transformed agency of the future will be the ones which will have creative, media and technology stacks side by side. There will be a great deal of automation that we will see as we move along, and we see that already happening in the media and technology stacks. I believe smaller agencies and outfits are better placed to transform themselves as it is easy to plug and play media and technology stacks these days. It is the left part of the brain that cannot be replicated fast enough and the creative folks have a larger role to play here. However they will have to come out of their silos and have to unlearn the traditional way of delivering a story. It does not mean large agencies will not be agile enough to make this transformation. The most logical way is to start with a large client and create a template where all the three stacks come together. I say a large client because it allows investment through economy of scale and it gives a larger playing field to deliver expectations. Who will be the first one to create the “come together” model will be interesting to see…. I would love to hear your thoughts here.