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Are Ad Agencies Dying?

The digital era is completely revolutionizing the traditional advertising agency model. Methods such as direct mail, billboards, posters, radio and television commercials can be considered to some, as prehistoric practices or even ineffective.

Today, social media, hash-tagging and mentioning have become mainstream ways to connect and share endless amounts of information with peers.

With the ease and cost minimization of sharing via social media, it’s no surprise that ad agencies are quickly adapting to these changing times.

This technological shift towards new advertising approaches can be perceived as a threat to many old-fashioned advertising agencies. No matter what type of advertising take you believe in, one thing is for sure, in this industry, change is inevitable.

This leaves us to wonder, are ad agencies dying or are they simply being reborn?

The Dying Argument

Digital Era

As I mentioned above, the digital era is upon us. Technology changes and advances everyday. Having watched beepers become iPhones and desktop computers become weightless laptops, I think it is certain to say that I grew up in the peak of the digital era. In the twenty years that I have been alive SO much has changed when it comes to technology.

Although there is a lot of good that comes with change, there is also some bad.

This new era of digitalization has caused various ad agencies that can’t keep up with the changing times to go out of business. Part of this problem is that instead of agencies trying to learn what they don’t know, they only focus on what they do. In the fast-paced world we live in today, that type of attitude just won’t cut it.

Social Media

Social media has only continued the progression of digitalization. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have introduced a whole new sphere of advertising and marketing. Failure to innovate and adapt to these methods of social media sharing can be detrimental to a company.

Twitter has become one of the most mainstream ways to connect with others and get a company’s name out there. Hashtags, mentions and trending topics are ways that Twitter provides its user with to reach a broader scope of people.

Facebook is another useful (and free) tool that companies have began to utilize more and more. There are plenty of adults who are simply incompetent when it comes to using social media. On the other hand, younger people, such as myself, are geniuses when it comes to navigating these sites and this is an advantage that many start-up companies have.

Inbound vs Outbound

The outbound apocalypse is near and inbound marketing is moving in and taking over. If you haven’t heard of inbound marketing, then I am assuming you have been living under a rock.

Content marketing and inbound approaches have been excellent ways for start-up companies to do exactly that, start-up. These approaches take very little funding and are still efficient ways to get the job done.

Outbound on the other hand costs a lot more money and includes the old, more traditional ways of advertising, hence why some say that ad agencies are, in fact, dying.

Traditional Methods Still Work

Radio Advertising

Local radio stations such as Z100, WPLJ and WNYC, as well as Pandora, Spotify and iHeart radio, are platforms that are still used for advertising tactics. Radio provides the ease and opportunity of delivering a message to a large audience in a short amount of time.

Despite new inbound marketing approaches, radio is still a somewhat up-to-date way to market. Many agencies will argue that using the radio is still a successful way to advertise and have statistics to prove it. At the end of the day, this method (just like every other method) really depends on what the message is and who exactly you are targeting.

Direct Mail

Pamphlets and brochures are one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to advertising. Sending something directly through the mail is, to some extent, cost efficient and can be easily measured. By sending a message via mail and addressing it to a specific person, it is possible to see how the receiver reacts and if the message was effective.

One statistic shows that 65% of consumers of all ages made a purchase as a result of direct mail, according to the 2013 Direct Mail Association Factbook.

Hard to believe? It’s okay, I was a little shocked by this statistic as well but it just goes to show that maybe it is not time to completely rule out older, more traditional ways of advertising quite yet.

So What Does This All Mean?

We don’t necessarily believe that ad agencies are dying. In fact, companies need ad agencies now more than ever. Certain strategies can only go so far. It’s not about what methods are being used but how they are being used and if you have a proper mix.

Regardless of old or new, using one specific advertising strategy for every campaign is not going to cut it. Traditional methods will work for certain target markets, while social media reaches will work for others. So although we are in the midst of the digitalization era and technology is rapidly taking over our lives, traditional methods of advertising can still be useful.

How do you advertise? Let us know in the comments below!

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