So its not statistically robust but i’ve now spoken to 10 agencies about driving the digital agenda within.

They cover 100+ people agencies and they cover advertising, comms, PR, training and others. They are all in different place and have different approaches.

The best things I have seen are folk responsible for driving the agenda

There’s a real impact when the CEO/MD takes a person they trust and say something along the lines of: ‘this digital thing looks important. Figure out what’s relevant and go make it happen’

That’s great. Its from the top and there is permission to make change.

The proof however is in the pudding. Big agencies, unlike big clients don’t tend to carve out an innovation pot of cash.

They say that digital innovation needs to ‘wash its face’. So i’ve seen agency folk managing editing suites or looking at how digital can help same the company money.

Looking at the cost of production in most agencies, there is a lot of money to be saved. But is there the motivation amongst production teams and account managers?

Actually, its no bad thing as digital is being used in a product and process sense and not just as a comms tool.

Then there’s the approach of adding digital people into functional teams such as planning, buying, creative, strategy.

This avoids the apartheid like segregation often seen client side with digital marketing teams.

The challenge is that the ideal digital person still needs to be rooted in business and brand, as well as digital.

Part of the historical challenge was the invasion of the digital geeks who spoke (and wrote) a different language and struggled to talk to senior account folk in English (or your natural tongue).

This is clearly getting better but most good digital people can struggle to talk brand and talk business model.

The worst case seems to be digital acquisitions and then the subsequent bloodshed when it comes to integration. The big agency groups have been guilty of just buying the digital agency and relying on a forced osmosis.

When you look at the marketing ‘supply chain’, its still the lead agencies that are involved up front and typically the agencies a step or 3 down the food chain. How do the digital agencies become part of the first conversation and not the last?

Watch this space? Meanwhile let’s keep watching big agencies grappling with the challenge of digital change and a big hand to thos taking on the challenge.

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