How do you see the current economy? Do the tumultuous ructions in the media and advertising industries intimidate you or excite you?
In the agency world there currently seems to be two camps; those trying to survive and those looking at new opportunities.
Most of the industry news in 2009 has been about layoffs and dwindling ad-spends. Talk of the four-day working week has been rife and many advertising types have moved to reduced hours or 9 day fortnights.
While the bad news has dominated, I suspect there are several smart agencies who have seen the opportunities the current climate presents to reinvent themselves and the industry. They may not be generating much talk at the moment, but as the economy bounces back you will see them emerge from the shadows as the new power-players.
Why? Because there has never been a more important time foster innovation in advertising, media and marketing.
Last October I suggested that we were at a turning point in marketing and media history. The convergence of new digital media, a generational shift in media consumption and a serious economic crisis created a perfect storm that will likely change the media landscape forever.
What seemed like an extreme hypothesis then, appears to have been an understatement now. Newspapers have been closing around the world as revenues shrink. There is now a robust debate, led by Rupert Murdoch, around charging for online news access.
Meanwhile, radio and television are fighting to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world. There is serious downward pressure on media advertising rates, whilst online advertising revenue continues to grow.
Against this backdrop, many agencies have battened down the hatches hoping to ride out the storm. I suggest that when most of them stick their heads back out again they’ll find the storm changed everything and some new, agile competitors have taken the lead.
These new stars will be the innovators, the businesses who saw the changing landscape and decided to push the boundaries and explore new opportunities.
They will challenge the status quo and question everything they were taught to believe about advertising and marketing.
They will launch new products that will deliver more value and accountability.
They will look at former competitors as potential customers.
They will deliver traditional media outlets with new revenue streams that may not be reliant on advertising revenue, especially as television and radio go digital.
So if you have battened down the hatches, I hope you are working hard on new ideas and new thinking. I hope you’re not relying on your old business model to be as profitable as it used to be.
And to you marketing and media innovators, I can’t wait to see the great ideas you’ve been working on. I suspect many will be truly revolutionary.
Over to you: What do you see happening in the industry? Are you aware of any exciting innovations? What are you doing to compete in the new media economy?