At a conference I attended not long ago, I met a woman whose agency specialised in brand scents. Yes, a business dedicated to solving the question 'What is the smell you want consumers to associate with your brand?' A few hours later, I met a man whose agency specialised in 'audio logos'. I was reminded of the endless entrepreneurialism of the agency sector.
There is a solid economic argument for 'best-of-breed' specialisation. And, given the pace of change in our business, new niches will continue to emerge. But I believe, in B2B circles, there is a growing cloud hanging over one class of agency business models. And that is those agencies staking their 'best-of-breed' status around a particular communications channel – search, social, digital advertising, and maybe even 'inbound'. Is it possible that the trend towards channel-specialised agencies has run its course? What follows are three reasons why B2B marketers are telling us they are pivoting away from channel-specialised agencies and towards consolidating specialties in a single agency partner.