The Agency of the future is built around its clients needs, not its former out-dated specialty. 

We are all marketers no matter the discipline, creatives are strategic, account directors are relationship experts and business drivers, producers are technologists that are movers and shakers, and technologists are creators.

Having grown up in digital agencies, I have had first hand experience that creativity crossed all disciplines.  Creative Directors have equal footing in art, copy and architecture.  The digital world is analytical by nature.   Our culture begins with comprehension of the technologies we are designing and dialogging through.

In the digital world we tear things apart and put them back together (the birth of the mash-up). It's how we learn, it is how we have evolved it is how we will continue to dominate the marketing world.

In the past, traditional agencies created great creative in "pairs", a copywriter and an art director. This worked for mediums that did NOT have constantly moving parts, interaction counts, daily technology advances and emerging engagement models.

In the digital world, the creation process is more complex. Strategists, designers, copy writers, information architects, media specialists, and technologists must come together to create great experiences.

A great experience is not only captured in a well-developed site, but in the distribution of seeded content that delivers brand impressions that lead to product and brand loyalty.

In a recent conversation with a group of traditional marketers whose “above the line” creative directors refused to view digital creative as “creative”, I quickly drew the parallel that started as the demise of the big agency in the mid nineties.  Clients are constantly looking for the Big Idea…. But the Big Idea does not always manifest itself in a commercial.  As a matter of fact I would beg to differ that the brand essence was ever captured in a television spot.

Now that we live in the world of mediums that have converged, traditional creative are losing work to digital creative.  Traditional commercials have lost their steam because they often do not contain the context of the web.  The traditional budgets for the 15-second spot cannot compete with the budget it takes to create a 15 second interactive pre-roll unit that delivers engagement data and micro site capabilities. 

Nor can the 15-second spot on TV offer anything more than a GRP as data on its audience. 

For my digital posse, here is how the broadcast world works...

Sum of all rating points over a specific time period or over the course of a media plan; sometimes called homes per rating point. The rating of a show represents the percentage of people (or households) tuned in to a television program as compared to the number of television sets in the particular television universe (geographical location). Each rating point is equal to 1%. If a show has a rating of 7, that means that 7% of all persons (or households) who have a television were tuned in to that show (whether the other televisions were turned on or not). If there are two shows on a particular station during a particular time period, and the first show has a rating of 7 and the other a rating of 10, then the GRPs for that time period equal 17.

Media planners use gross rating points as a method of designing a media schedule in an attempt to deliver a maximum number of GRPs at minimum cost. In this instance, GRPs are calculated by multiplying the total reach (the unduplicated audience) of the schedule by the frequency (average amount of exposures) of the insertion in the proposed schedule. The gross rating points then will represent the product of reach and frequency and will express the "gross" duplicated percentage of audience that will be reached by the proposed plan. (It is important to note that GRPs are a percentage. )

Therefore, if a given market has 1000 television households, each GRP represents 10 viewing households, whereas in a market of 10,000 television households, each GRP represents 100 viewing households. Thus, the largest amount of GRPs does not necessarily mean the largest audience.)

The difference between TV and digital is that TV can drive awareness and eventually prove lift through sales.  If done with the right consumer engagement map, Digital drives brand experience, community, brand immersion, brand loyalty, trial and in store sales.  TV has yet to deliver community unless the content was engaging.

Examples of TV content that creates community has been content like the Sopranos, Sex and the City, The L Word or 24.  But what all of this mass market content has in common is that they have rampant online communities that ad fuel to the storylines, create word of mouth behavior and deliver in-depth engagement.

The traditional TV spot has yet to deliver that. 

I recently participated in an in-depth explanation of how to define engagement.  How do you interpret the numbers?  It is all about the context.  Before you begin the engagement, create your marketing objectives and align them with the creative objectives.  Ensure that it is strategic and drives sales.  Is it enough for people to know you (awareness).  For me it is more important that people choose you (demand & purchase).

In a world where consumers own the brand inclusive of the creative process, marketers (agency clients) are forcing the “above the line agencies” to put the big production budgets and flashy ads aside for low cost alternatives which fit into ROI models where exact measurement is found.   

Thus the reality of engagement!

So while our traditional counterparts are “figuring it out” the large agency is quickly loosing out on its creative je nois se quoi. Smaller, nimble digital agencies who have been used to delivering big bang, reality based metrics and BIG Ideas for less and for years are now winning the race for marketing production and media dollars.

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ON: The Agency Of The Future via @jpenabickley