The Advertising Industry is not broken yet – but it is already getting challenged by so many diverse forces that the “traditional” Agency is probably already in its senior years and heading for the grave.

Being original and creative is not sufficient for agencies to survive.

We need to recognise new and original ways of finding work for our teams – one way is to take OTL brands below the line and another is to become a disruptor agency.

Two insightful commentators have added to the #FutureAgency debate this week.

What will the creative agency of the future be like

Tim Williams of Ignition Consultants wrote about not just disruptor agencies – that is easy. We’ve all been spinning out new shops with new offerings for years. What he focuses is on separate businesses that are NOT agencies but are providing services which agencies consider to be ours.

To look at what’s happening in the advertising business, I would invite you to imagine two columns on a sheet of paper; one labeled “Incumbents” and the other “Disrupters.” The names you would list under “incumbents” may be fairly obvious. But who or what would you list as “disrupters?” Here are a few I’d put on my list:

Open source creative resources (Giant Hydra, Ideasicle, Genius Rocket)

Advertising platforms and virtual agencies (SpotRunner, Pick-n-Click Ads)

Audience platforms and agency trading desks (Accuen, Mediabrands, Xaxis, Funbox)

Marketing implementation companies (Avventa, Tag, E-Graphics)

Production companies as agencies (B Reel, Trailer Park, Radical Media)

Media companies as agencies (Conde Nast Studio, Electus, Scratch)

Technology companies as marketing services providers (Google, Facebook, Foursquare)

And then Andy Owen a leading copywriter who has transcended old and modern marketing and still remains relevant – has published his latest CopyCat newsletter. Andy challenges us all

In these tough times it’s your existing customers who will keep you warm…Ignore them and there’s a good chance that you’ll end up like HMV, Blockbuster, Jessops and the rest of them.”

Andy sets out examples from the Automotive, Music and hotel industries where he sees opportunities for brands to work on keeping their customers coming back for more. That’s the genius of marketing communications – direct, timely and relevant to the customer.

It’s not easy to do but the disruptive innovations that focus on getting new customers are still missing a trick – how do they play to your current client – when’s she coming back to buy again?

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