With the nascent onset of exponential technologies the world over, many human tasks are likely to be automated in due course of time. A by-product of this phenomenon is the blurring of lines between job roles. Today, advertising and technology are converging as ideas evolve and there exists more than a linear way to perform a process. Predictions suggest that consultancy firms are stepping on the agency territory and that clients are correspondingly considering moving towards them. This has resulted in a debate between consultancies and digital agencies as technology and advertising join hands to communicate.
As consultants, they see an opportunity in digital marketing, in addition to what they have always been doing. On the other hand, upon noticing the convergence of tech and advertising, agencies started responding by building their own data and tech practices.
The current scenario could be pegged as a case of being a generalist versus a specialist one. A few companies are working with consultancies for the transformation of their businesses; however, the marketing aspect still rests with agencies. Agencies have an advantage of long-term association with the brands they have helped build — relationships with marketers, understanding the brand’s personalities and needs, its growth story and other aspects, which aren’t qualities that can be easily discounted. More importantly, agencies possess several years of experience in this space and the great credibility they enjoy consequently. Also, agencies are aware of the fact that today advertising does not work in isolation; it’s a strategic subset of the integrated marketing and business functions.
Clients’ needs, at their core, have not changed. A brand will seek solutions from either a consultancy or an agency depending on the business problem at hand. Rather than looking at either side as a substitute for the other, they need to be viewed as two different models. At the end of the day, whichever model adopts tech effectively will fare better since the customer will pay for the value seen in the work.
India may witness this trend too, though it’s still early. We have been seeing this development unfold in the West for a while now, so we have a head start — a time window to evolve our operations, products and solutions.
The potent combination of contemporary technologies and intelligent data providing strong insight and execution drives almost all business decisions and actions. Whoever then is capable of putting this offer on the table most effectively is likely to woo the brand custodian.
The author is CEO, iProspect India