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What Happened To The Advertising Industry?

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Advertising success and the resultant increase in sales depended on which advertising agency your business engaged.

In fact, publicising who your business used for your campaigns worked well for your brand and reputation. Back in the day, this was a time when there was no level playing field, the Agency, your company, engaged correlated to how deep your pockets were. Hence, startups and small businesses struggled to compete with larger enterprises.

However, in most industries, this no longer has any sway the ‘Mad Men‘ days are long gone, and the world of media has not been looking too rosy for some time.

Digital Marketing Changed The Advertising Industry

Call it ‘media disruption’ where the power had shifted from the Agency and traditional advertising on TV and in print to online in social media, on websites, and in search.

Old-style agencies refusing to change have all but closed up shop. New players continue to enter the marketing services domain with new style advertising services that cost less and reach targeted audiences. There are many types of digital marketing and advertising, including:

  • PPC – e.g. Google Adwords
  • Content Marketing
  • SMM (Social Media Marketing)
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Native Advertising
  • Video Advertising

Advertisers or Technology To Blame?

The disruption in the advertising industry has been put down to the shift in technology, and this is true in part, but it’s not the whole truth.

What is evident is something changed with the 4th and 5th industrial revolution, and the power shifted away from the ad people and their creative process. The online world grew, empowering everyone with smart devices and marketing apps and many new ways to market your business for next to nothing.

The media outlets slow to move with the times lost their way, and the likes of Google and Facebook disrupted the industry like no other business, so they are said to be the leading cause of the power shift. However, saying it’s their fault is not altogether true.

The world of advertising is fraught with attention seekers. Customers, i.e. businesses, are no longer in awe of the Ad agency creativity, which is as much the reason why the demise of the traditional advertising industry. Technology has definitely been a disrupter, but the Agencies also contributed to their own demise through denial and slowness to change.

Digital Revolution

The digital revolution has moved into the 4th & 5th industrial revolution. Technology at the fingertips of users changed advertising almost overnight.

Google, Facebook, and other online advertising channels with user-friendly paid advertising services cut out the middle player, i.e. the ad agency. Marketers were also quick to use other initiatives like email marketing. Growing their own email marketing list of subscribers, they could create and send emails with links to their website.

Today, email marketing remains one of the most successful channels for pulling visitors to websites, and it works with another do it yourself initiative; blogging. Therefore it really didn’t take long for companies to realise they could replace the Agency and the need to wait for their creative input before their ad campaigns were set in motion.

The immediacy of do-it-yourself marketing using paid search, emails, blogging and social media with measurement has become the norm with companies of all sizes.

Agencies In Denial

Ad agencies have been in denial, and there’s good cause for it. Believing their expertise and relationships would win over their clients and that they’d retain their advertising business was justified; however, probably due to cost, the business case for retaining an agency hasn’t been there for many enterprises, so agencies have had to make a decision.

Do Agencies continue on as before, with the same creative process and transactional advertising? This style meant the same ads, being a nuisance and forcing people to put up with them or go for a radical change in their business model and embrace technology?

There are survivors of the advertising industry, but their evolution to speed with marketing today has been slow progress leaving many asking: Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

The answer is yes and no. Change has to be all-consuming as the reality is, in the digital world, ads don’t have to be admired. They no longer work in the same way as they used to, which has been hard for Ad agencies to learn.

Using the old advertising style, i.e. transactional, pushed consumers away as they chose not to click on the online adverts. Even with the aggressive tactics, and sly tricks, it became evident that the message needed to change, not just the medium of advert delivery.

Room For Improvement

There is a new breed of marketing agencies. They are working their magic in the digital marketing sector, embracing Google and Facebook and other platforms to create and manage high-value campaigns for business.

Ad agencies need to work alongside marketers using their key selling points, i.e. creativity and industry experience. For example, DIY marketing may appear to cost less, but it’s ineffective if it’s not hitting the mark with the intended audience. Without the proof of sales, it’s actually more expensive, with a lower ROI. Plus, there are some areas like how to rebrand a business that needs the expertise of marketing industry experts.

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