In this third and final post in a series about how new technology affect agencies, I’ll be taking a closer look at challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for creative agencies.

The term creative agency covers many types of businesses, from PR and communication agencies over web, ad and marketing agencies. What all of these have in common, is that they’re being served – or bothered – by an ever increasing array of technology.

Technological Innovations for Agencies: Friend or Foe?

It’s hard to write an article about creative agencies without mentioning Mad Men, the TV series that portrayed the world of advertising in the 1960s.

Creative Agency Before Technology Disruption creative agencies
Cigars and funny dances to get the Mad Men creativity going.

The times of flamboyant creatives and slightly disturbed copywriters drinking whisky all night before coming up with a brilliant campaign are probably over.

Now people stare at Google AdWords dashboards that meticulously report how changing one word in a measly 95-characters ad affects click through rate…

Cliché as it may sound, Don Draper wouldn’t set foot in today’s data driven agencies.

Or would he? Perhaps he would be charmed by the evergrowing possibilities to use tech for contact management. Seeing his little black book of sweethearts and business contacts being kept up-to-date as by magic might tickle his fancy.

Technology might have changed, but people haven’t really changed all that much. Evolution is a very slow process, and us humans really value personal relationships.

Agencies need to cultivate a vision of partnership, because clients who realize you’re truly investing in the relationship will see you as more than a vendor or supplier. Spending money on technology for the agency itself, rather than for customers, is something agency owners often are reluctant to do. That’s unfortunate because anything that can help you manage your customer relationships better, like a CRM to nurture and grow your agency business, is highly valuable.

The Struggle for Talent in Creative Agencies

I have yet to have a conversation with anyone at a senior level in an agency without spending the first 15 minutes (at least) commiserating on how difficult it is to find people. Digital agencies or ‘mainline’ agencies, the story is the same“, says Namrata Balwani, a former Digital Marketing Agency Head.
The problem? Graduates prefer working in glamorous corporates like Facebook or Google over the lower-paid junior positions in an agency. As agencies live by the grace of client fees, budgets are tight.

Changing the model to allow more flexible work and employment is a potential solution.

With the help of the right (mobile) technology, there’s no need for agency employees to be in the office at all times.

A well-constructed consulting model that allows agencies to quickly adapt, expand and contract is critical for agencies to thrive.

Many great creative people in the ad industry work with multiple clients and enjoy not going to an office every day.

An agency still needs creative people, data scientists and analytics experts don’t write great copy. It’s not because marketing messages, impressions and click-throughs can be rationally tracked that the messages themselves can be made without imagination, without creative spark. Emotion always trumps reason in buying decisions.

Creative agencies are evolving, that’s true. But using technology to help with various things like working remote and easy contact management, there’s a huge silver lining around the cloud of potentially disruptive technologies.

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Ewout is straight-forward and direct. He makes sure we keep moving forward. He’s a friendly chap and never fails to motivate the team to perform at their best.

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