I've been doing the ad agency thing now for about 15 years. I remember the good ole days. Clients would call us asking for help with their $5 million account. We would develop a plan to spend 50% on three TV stations, 30% on local market radio and 20% on 3-5 print vehicles. We spent three weeks developing plans and another 3-4 weeks in production. Cha-ching - ad campaign is finished. Okay, maybe we did a little research up front to control, oops I mean learn, consumers' preferences. This was used to support the decisions that had already been made, oops I mean influence our decisions that were ahead of us.
Cliff Shaluta, Professor of Advertising at Western Kentucky University, recently posted a blog entitled A New Model for Ad Agencies. He does a great job trying to shape the madness that has been created with the surge of social media such as Facebook. Ad agencies are scrambling to retool their processes to include more online communications. PR agencies are claiming the current world of social media is a natural extension of public relations (after all they've been in the business of creating natural consumer buzz for years). Online marketing gurus have elevated past being just web designers and are staking their right to be kings of the online universe - the business they were born into.
What do I think tomorrow's marketing agency looks like? I honestly have no idea, but it will be a fun ride.