In the advertising and marketing business, digital is its own channel. Rare is the vendor that provides a truly integrated single source worldview of a brand. A really smart person once said to an important client “campaigns are overrated” which stuck me with a ferocity that shook my world, but he was right. A campaign, when well-defined and well-equipped is a powerful selling mechanism. It’s what people talk about. But translating campaigns across silos is not easy. Heck, anyone who has ever worked at an ad agency knows campaigns don’t always transfer across media. A great design-driven print campaign may not work well in radio or a murderously effective TV campaign may not work as out of home. It’s tah-woooh. And those silos are under one roof.
Competing Market Forces
A bunch of hearty souls are trying to bring online and offline selling under one roof. Yet a greater number of very skilled entrepreneurs are out there selling against the one roof approach — creating even greater and greater specialization. A friend at CatalystSF told me that there are over 200 social media agencies in the New York area alone. So what do you do about these two competing forces — the shops who want more pie and are trying to integrate and the shops selling best of breed, stand alone digital marketing specialties? Well the planner in me usually starts problem solving by “following the money.” In the case of integrated vs. stand alone I say “follow the strategy.”
If you find a potential partner with a sense of business strategy that transcends tactical discussions, listen. Business strategy first. Marketing strategy second. Message strategy third and tactical fourth. I don’t care if its RGA or TBWA. Peace it up!