Warc Blog

No future for digital agencies

22 May 2013
PARIS: The current crop of marcoms students expect standalone social media and digital agencies will be a thing of the past within a decade as they are integrated with other agencies or become full service themselves, a new survey has found.

The Next Generation of Marcoms report from The Mediaschool Group, a European business school, polled 2,000 marketing students aged 20-25 in the UK, France, Spain and Belgium on five different themes, including digital and the next generation, the future of marcoms, career, ethics and inspiration.

Almost 90% of respondents did not think of social media as a separate discipline but rather one that all marketers should be using. And 85% thought that would lead to the end of standalone agencies over the next ten years.

A similarly high proportion, 90%, agreed or strongly agreed that in ten years' time the agency they work for would be full service where practitioners would be comfortable creating strategies in advertising, direct, social, digital and PR.

A majority saw a future focused on content marketing and "PR thinking". Fully 81% believed that content marketing would be essential part of their job in ten years, while 70% anticipated that PR thinking would dominate how agencies responded to briefs.

But this did not mean the end of television, as 68% disagreed or strongly disagreed that TV advertising would be 'irrelevant'.

Interestingly, this generation of students did not regard themselves as digital natives with 70% believing the next generation, ten years younger than them, will be the true masters of digital media.

This "should send shock-waves through the industry and eradicate any lingering sense of complacency among modern marketers," said Scott Wilson, UK CEO and EMEA managing director of Cohn and Wolfe, the communications agency.

Anne Pflimlin, director of The MediaSchool Group noted that this generation was agnostic about channel or medium and that trust, word of mouth and content seemed to matter so much more.

"It behoves an industry that is so often transfixed by questions of youth and channel relevance to listen carefully," she observed.

Future employers might also note that 86% said the agency they want to work for would have to be as much about the creation of social good as about creating profit for brands.

Coincidentally, this is also the subject of the 2013 Admap Prize, the winners of which have been announced today.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff

 
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