OK... So there are some conclusions/recommendations in the new Forrester report
on Ad Agencies that I'm (to say the least) dubious about. But I cannot argue with the analysis of the current state of affairs.
In Forrester's view, a simple fact is driving the need for wrenching change in how advertising agencies are structured: consumers increasingly do not trust marketing messages. Instead, they rely on advice from friends and others in their various communities to make product decisions, while using tech tools to tune out ad messages they deem irrelevant. On top of that, consumer media choice has made the notion of a "captive audience," other than during some sporting events, a thing of the past. -- AdWeek, 2/8/08
It's an interesting read.
In particular, while some of the information is obvious or has been stated before... There are some startling and valuable bits in here.
Seeing the gap in perception between agencies and clients on the value of an agency is shocking. When 90% of Agency Execs say their firms are "well-equipped to help deal with changes in Internet Advertising" while less than 50% of Clients feel the same way... or seeing an even greater gap when the same question is asked about Consumer-generated media... the picture starts to get painfully clear. And seeing a client-generated aggregate Net Promoter score for Agencies of 21% is kind of horrifying.
And there is some weird data in here as well. I have to admit that I was shocked (and perhaps a bit heartened) to see that, while only 39% of consumers say they trust information on a manufacturer's web site, only 11% trust reviews by bloggers. Maybe consumers are smarter than the average Internet Agency thinks they are...
The key part of the report (IMHO) deals with the challenges facing Chief Marketing Officers. This is a major driver that hasn't been consistently addressed. We've all talked about the changes on the consumer side - but when you look at this changes in context of the challenges for the CMOs -- then suddenly the urgency and seriousness of the problem facing Ad and Marketing Agencies becomes quite stark.
So what's to be done...
This is HUGE opportunity.
They identify Brand skills as the missing component for the Digital and Interactive firms.
They identify new specialists and boutiques coming into play.
Out of these two spaces are going to emerge the next generation of big players.
I have a suspicion that we're going to see another round of roll-ups as a result.