It was so much simpler when I was growing up.

Three TV Networks, no cell phones, 15% media commissions, agencies driving the client relationships.

And it was so much simpler…even just six or seven years ago. There was the internet and nobody really knew what to make of it. Marketers figured they had to have a website, they didn’t know much about advertising on the net, let alone it’s value. Social and search were elements that were only just starting to creep into our vernacular.

Today, the world of digital and social media are much more complicated. So complicated that people are now publishing charts to sort it all out. For most, it’s just a scary showcase of the nature of the “ecosystem” as it’s called – the ever-changing ecosystem of the digital space.

There’s so much out there, so much changing, so much value….and so few agencies really understand or know what to do with it all.

So what does this mean for you?

Next time you’re looking for a digital firm, make sure you’re asking the tough questions about their acumen as it relates to this space.

How do they buy their media? How do they (or do they) measure return on investment? Do they plan in a vacuum or do are they considerate of traditional media platforms? Do they seem like the type of agency that is just hip on what’s hot or do they seem like they really understand how to look at it all strategically and find the right tools to meet your business needs? Do they have the case studies to prove it to you?

Don’t get lulled into a false sense of excitement, drawn in by a bunch of hype and cool creative. Digital was a place to be cool. Now it’s a place to be smart. The digital space is complex – but at the end of the day it’s just another set of delivery mechanisms that should be evaluated the same way other media is evaluated.

The days of three TV networks might be gone, but the business challenges remain the same.

One big (and important) difference between then and now…is your choices are much greater – agency choices that is. So be smart and discriminating and find the agency that is right for you.