What does the future hold for ad agencies?

This is a common and increasingly urgent question being raised by lots of individuals today especially those who are in the advertising and marketing sector. With the increasing clients hunting for consultants, it cannot be denied that lots of these agencies are striving real hard to advance on their own turf and remain relevant.

Business is historically straightforward and marketers hire agencies to create 30 second spots, place them in TV and adapt them to magazines, radio and out-of-home media, make and send direct mails to addresses that are stored in big databases and more.

However, the needs of clients have changed or let’s say, increased – maybe into unbearable terms if you hired an agency that isn’t digitally savvy, 5 years ago. Not that you have 3 or 4 experts on the matter but that you have digital and technology all around your agency ecology.

Clients are requesting their agencies to manage their marketing across devices and essentially serve customized advertisements to specific audiences reliant on real-time analysis on data that’s constantly changing – and not on gut-feelings nor the emotive magnetism with an awareness focus or goal.

In all these continually evolving and clouding mashup of marketing and business operations – are the clients who need a reliable partner to help them out and who/what/where/when will this partner be?

Opinions coming from different individual are pursued of regarding this subject including experts and most of them said that ‘whatever’ agency will take in the next five or ten years, it must be client-centric (business-partners).

Great Re-bundling

More agencies will re-bundle capabilities like media and creative, production and digital, influencers and more for individual brand needs. There would be dedicated and reliable client teams and greater open-sourcing degree of capabilities and talents. However, the challenge for businesses in this leveled playing field is to bring something new to their clients.

Talent?

Solutions?

Costs?

As far as the future of ad agencies is concerned, these agencies will be established around consumers and clients and not by channels or brands. There will no longer be lead agencies but multi-disciplines that sit as equal partners in a more fluid and better structure.

All ad agencies and creative departments will need to have the same ending points.

Both Small and Big

The world will certainly accommodate the different types of lead agency but not everyone should be generalist in future. In part, this future is believed to be driven by what the culture supports best type of thinking. Individuals might just end up having these flatter organizations and some even foresee having numerous leadership communities instead of having massive and big hierarchies.


These days’ clients get as big as about 20-30 people. With minimal silos between the disciplines and t-shaped creative talents that can utilize technology, this team in the next years or months can be as small as four people.

However, small businesses must not diminish or limit agencies.

In conclusion, when talking about future of ad agencies, new competition is part of the scene. As the clients demand newly bundled support across digital content, media distribution and commerce, agencies tend to be morphing to meet challenges investing on consulting, tech capabilities, consultants/freelancers, and media.

Various media companies also invest on content creation services for brands which buy ads on their very own media platforms and on other websites as well therefore, turning a media agency into a competitive business against creative agencies.

“Stay curious because change is not an option anymore”

Jorge Machado Colon