Monday, January 14, 2008

It's not or. It's and.

Twenty-eight of the ideas in the Denver 50 used the Internet either as medium or delivery mechanism. Only one of those ideas came from a digital-only agency.

What does that tell you? Maybe that many traditional agencies understand and operate in the online space as well as, or perhaps better than, some digital agencies.

Consider posts at AdPulp and AdWeek:

Digital agencies are improving their skills to help clients strategically, but still fall short in their ability to lead broader marketing and brand strategy, according to a new report by Forrester Research. That inability means Web agencies in the near term will continue to be relegated to the role of implementer, while a client's traditional shop takes the lead, said Brian Haven, a Forrester analyst.

Right. For a traditional agency to get into the interactive space, it only needs to clear two hurdles. The first is expanding its skill set, which is as easy as hiring the right people. The second is accepting that advertising can be story just as easily as it can be spectacle. (See my related post "Agency segmentation: A slideshow" for more on this shift.)

But for a digital agency to encroach on traditional space, it needs to pick up strategic, media and conceptual skills. Plus it needs to become an expert in print, broadcast, guerilla, out-of-home and direct.

Modern marketing isn't about or. It's about and. Lead agencies must be able to concept fresh ideas in all media. Everyone else will be relegated to development roles.

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