I was reading an interesting i merge blog which listed down some very provoking thoughts on the above topic. These were the thoughts of Alain Thys, the man behind Futurelab. Future Ad agencies must :
1. Take the lead in ROI conversations, rather than undergoing them: Third party consultants these days are mapping all the data that affects the ROI for a brand. If an agency doesn't know how to put its work in this perspective, then it will lose the little credibility that is left in them .
2. Differentiate yourself: The message is simple: if an agency can't create advocacy and enthusiasm for themselves... how do they expect to create it for our clients.
3. Stop advertising, start communicating: to shift from info-blasting towards doing stuff that is worth talking about.
4. Learn about the stuff that really works: everyone in the agency should update their knowledge through playing and understanding various alternative media.
5. Challenge the industry orthodoxies: The problem to me is not so much the industry orthodoxies, but orthodoxies on the client side. Marketers often prefer to stick to their traditional ways of marketing, because it gives them a false sense of safety. They prefer the safety than the more intangible metrics of conversational marketing. And sometimes you can't blame them, because they are the ones that have to report on their marketing investments.
6. If it carries no meaning, stop doing it: Here Alain talks about our willingness to make compromises and implement crappy concepts just because the client asks us to. Again: that's a very tough one to deal with. He's right from a branding point of view: an agency compromises its own brand image by allowing mediocre work to leave the company. I guess the truth lies in the middle. when it's not possible to do thought provoking stuff for clients, then the campaign should at least have one surprising element or idea.
7. If you don't want to or can't implement the above, harvest and start over.
Sometimes its easier said than done when the bottom line of the agencies are at stake. Ultimately its the bottom lines that matter most and sometimes whether the agencies like it or not, good creative works will have to give way to what the paymaster wants. Its a sad conclusion but its the way business is.