Agencies Need New Role in Google-led World, Warns Guru

17 February 2009

NEW YORK: Google will supplant many of the traditional roles of ad agencies, which will increasingly become consultants training companies "how to build networks with consumers and assisting them with product launches", according to Jeff Jarvis, author of media blog BuzzMachine and the new book What Would Google Do?

In his book, Jarvis argues that the rise of Google – which he sees as less of a company, and more as a new type of worldview – has effectively "changed advertising more than any other industry".

Joe Mandese, editor of MediaPost and a columnist for Admap, has also previously argued that many of Madison Avenue's biggest players are concerned about the fact that Google could undermine their core areas of operation.

Jarvis argues the search giant has done so by allowing marketers to target communications more effectively, offering millions of new sites to place ads, opening the market to new advertisers, and "enabling marketers to pay for performance rather than space, time, and eyeballs".

By contrast, he suggests that, for the moment, ad agencies are largely "remain unchanged", mainly because they "still control the money, and nobody wants to mess with the guy with the credit card".

However, as Google continues to grow, he thinks it is "hard to see what's left for the agency" beyond a consultancy role, which will mark a considerable decline in the scope of their operations, as "once the consultation is done, the consultant leave town."

On the other hand, this increasing "Googlisation" will allow brands able to offer customised services to their customers, which may well be expensive, but consumers could be willing to bear the cost for the opportunities such services provide.

To read a full review of Jeff Jarvis's What Would Google Do? click here. A further selection of reviews of recent marketing books can be accessed here.

Data sourced from What Would Google Do?; additional content by WARC staff