Its starting, the momentum is gathering towards the true ‘new model agency’. First we had media agencies that were all in silos by department with TV being the dominate in most. Over time that has merged into cross media departments with TV, Press etc buyers all working together, makes me think of ZULU the film, closing ranks to protect themselves from the onslaught. Are we seeing the end of the buyer as we know it?
Digital has thrown everything up in the air and then on top of that technology has thrown digital up in the air and everyone is trying to cope, the one thing that is true though is that more and more technology will do the best job of ‘buying audiences’ as its becoming known. I have just come from an agency that was very commercially aware that low value, high volume accounts and the people who worked on them are not needed in central London, stick them somewhere cheaper was their idea. With agency margins being squeezed this can make a genuine difference.
Buying has that feeling about it, do media agencies really need 40-50 buyers, buying media that has already either been agreed in an overarching deal or is being supported by technology. The arrival of ad exchanges from Google, Right media and many others will change everything. You need to buy impression by impression, audience by audience and in real time, ‘paying’ the right price by impression millions of times an hour – no media buyer will do that.
The planning of TV, Press, digital or outdoor is all possible through technology so I suspect in five years time we are looking at media agencies that focus on strategy, some key trading heads to do the deals and a lorry load of computers. Agencies will be paid for adding value not buying media.
I will be interested to see which agency is brave enough to embrace this new model ahead of the pack and decide that things really can be done differently..lets see.