The Agency of Record is Dead – Long Live the Agency

Have you noticed that things are getting complicated? The first 15 years of going digital for firms was a breeze compared to the second 15 years. We used to build for desktop browsers and worried about navigation, labeling, dynamic presentation of data and then moved on to interactive marketing. Now it’s devices, social, always on connection and the disappearance of the web into the cloud. Enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Companies hire agencies to help them excel in areas beyond their core. A good agency delivered good work on time and within budget. A great agency delivered great work on time and within budget and the work drove business results. It looked more like a partnership than a vendor / client transaction.

Today there’s way too many things for any one agency to be able to master. Having multiple agencies is commonplace; the norm now for big brands. I have had some agencies say they can be an IOR, integrator of record. I’m skeptical. Integrator is definitely a needed function, but it is probably best handled by people inside the firm, not another agency.

The challenge will be to identify the competencies of each agency in the pool and challenge them to perform flawlessly in their core. Actually go beyond perform into the territory of innovate their competency. This will keep them focused. Another challenge will be to clearly define the roles and goals of each. We have traditional web (wow, that sounded wild) mobile and social. BTW, I hate the term mobile and am working on a new way to talk about that. Stay tuned.

The point is no one agency can do it all. Actually, they never could, but they were able to make it work. There are too many levels today to even entertain that thought.

As the client / brand, you’re the integrator. So integrate.

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