Future is NowIn our latest 2014 New Year Outlook Survey, we asked marketers and agencies to paint a picture of what the agency of the future looked like 5 years out.

What we quickly learned is that in some respects, the future is now for agencies.

In some respects, one could argue that agencies need to change or perish if they’re to survive long-term.  I know a rather dramatic statement…but one that needs to at least be given some consideration – as the world is moving quickly and will only get quicker.

It was a question we added last minute and we’re glad we did.  We gave respondents the opportunity to free-form their answers in as short or as long of a run-on sentence they wanted.

What we got was quite extraordinary.

And surprisingly there were some common themes – not just among marketers and among agencies – but across the board.

So while the onus is on the agency to read the results and think about what the implication is for their business, the marketer needs to be equally as thoughtful in considering what these potential changes mean for their business.

Here is a sampling of predictions both groups mentioned as likely to be valued among Agencies 5 years from now included:

  • Strong digital and analytical expertise
  • Content over creative
  • Smaller, agile agencies
  • Agencies that can operate in real time
  • Firms that understand the art and science of integration
  • Firms that understand Marketing technology
  • Small boutiques

There were also a number of predictions Marketers called out that could prove important to Agencies – ones that Agencies did not readily mention:

  • Mid-size agencies will get squeezed and have trouble surviving
  • Agencies need to be on top of trends while still maintaining a strong understanding and hold on traditional, proven advertising methods
  • A need for more sophisticated data mining
  • Very flexible with third party contractors
  • Puts equal weight on business results and marketing
  • Focused on ROI
  • They’ll look more like General Contractors

So start thinking about some of these things now.

In every RFI we have agencies complete we ask them for their perspective on the future of advertising and how their agency is preparing for it and how they would prepare their potential client for it.  This can be a fairly discriminating question…we get quite the variety of responses.

Some things you can ask yourself about your agency relationship today:

Is your agency delivering at the level that you expect?

Are they forward thinking and looking at the world in a manner similar to what’s outlined above?

If they aren’t you might want to help them along or start looking for something new.