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The future agencies can survive if marketers can form real connections between clients and consumers – moving from orchestrating campaigns to facilitating conversations. It’s not about a deep understanding of viewers any longer; it’s about knowing that everyone has a job to do and our job is to thoroughly understand what those jobs are so we can build media products that give them tools to do theirs. Data and insights, for sure – making those findings actionable is where the gap has widened.

What do you stand for? What is your purpose? What is your view other than what we’ve known for years that we must focus more on consumers and brands than technology and arbitrage; that we must value being great over being big. Questions that must be answered and acted, over and over again, solving one problem and creating a dozen more if you’re doing it right. Tools, relationships, and cooperation. Scaling scarcity with speed, customization, having a distinct vision and being fearless when executing. As data and analytic capabilities grow and we have increased visibility into the actual performance of our decisions, media agencies will need to face up to greater accountability.

Media agency, or whatever sign you’d like on the front door, doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s behind the door other than observations, showbiz, gadgets and thoughts that come close to resembling insights. Long way to go as the industry dug itself into a hole, addicted to efficiency innovation vs. empowering innovation. Be the first audience agency to do stuff for people that matters. Get out of the way with the pre-roll, get out of the way of what people want to watch and read and listen to in an always-on, always-accessible, smart and connected world consumers are adopting at a pace much quicker than you can keep up with and you may have something. Solve for these issues and you will have permission to define an agency of 2020+

A new breed of analysts are emerging that combine traditional research and digital analytics skill sets. Building service layers around a technology company is much easier than shoehorning a brittle stack into a global, fragmented media agency. Ever wonder why they trained oil drillers to be astronauts in the film, Armageddon, rather than training astronauts to be oil drillers? Because it’s more fun to watch. It’s entertaining. The reverse would have been boring and successful with a running time of 20 minutes including credits. This isn’t theater, it’s business. Make bold moves and defy conventional, institutionalized thought. Incremental change is too slow for today’s flow economy. You must start over and build consumer and brand up, vs. media down. Or mafia crooks will take the first-movers advantage and fuck-up everything!

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