As 2010 draws to a close, I am making my predictions for 2011 trends in the agency world. We’ve come a long way since Don Draper on Madison Avenue. The industry continues to change at warp speed. The best agencies keep up. The rest, well, the economy has a way of weeding them out.
Here are my predictions for the top five agency trends for 2011:
1. Creative thinking will make a comeback. After a few years of countless safe, ho-hum campaigns, agencies will be yearning for more use of the right sides of their brain. New, innovative, never-been-done before thinking will make its way out into the world.
2. To say that social media spending will grow in 2011 is so 2009. As Callan mentioned in her post on social media trends for 2011, clients will be looking for new social media agencies. No, not for the first time. They will have grown wiser and realized that the agency that “said they could do social media” isn’t based in strategy and certainly isn’t integrating the medium into all aspects of the brand. Therefore, there will be an insurgence of clients looking for real social experts. Social media experts that have proven successes and case studies in the field. The agencies that thought they knew social media will do one of two things: run away with their tail between their legs and revert to their traditional (and comfortable) way of doing things. OR they will humbly realize they must invest in social media (training, strategic partnerships or pro bono work to build case studies) in order to become experts with proven success.
3. Account management (from coordinator to VP) will experience an expansion in their job description. No longer is account management simply tending to the day-to-day needs of a client and their projects. It will now include contributing to new business, account planning and research, and managing profitability. Lean and mean started as a reaction to the recession and is now the new normal.
4. Metrics are king. Gone are the days of — “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. Trouble is, I don’t know which half” — being okay. Investments in any form of marketing will need a measure of success tied to them. Agencies will feel the pressure as the jobs and the success of our clients will be directly tied to these measures.
5. Agencies (hopefully, for the love of God) will wise up and realize that integration, already the buzzword for 2011, is simply being creative. It is about knowing where your consumer is and speaking to them there.