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ad agency futures in a white spaceless world

Digital media eliminated much of the white space once known as ad inventory. Some have tried to generate additional "artificial" white space by creating interstitials and spill-over ad units, but at the end of the day even the most compelling message running in these spots is an unwanted obtrusion in the digital media user experience.

Ad_man_2 So what's an ad man to do?

We evolve, we grow, we build out newer and better capabilities.  We become marketers, we become promoters, we become biz dev specialists, we become experience designers, we become public relations-esque community oriented social engineers.  We become everything beyond ad men and advertising.  As for the advertising - we'll do that too!

In this world of cross-capability mastery, what does the agency of the future look like?  Will it be a dynamic mesh of disparate capabilities or a series of departments and silos with cross-silo communications?  I would like to think that successful agencies will operate as a series of capability and specialty hubs with a strong focus on inter hub communications both within the agency and with the client marketing and communications teams.  There is no room for walls and lines in a digital world.  Future agency success won't be measured in units displayed or gross impressions, but the quality and cross-channel consistency of interactions.

This may seem like idle chatter, but if you think about the changing dynamic of the linear and digital ad worlds, we need to lend some serious thought to building a successful scalable structure.

Ad Agencies will no longer be creative shops or buying shops, rather they will be Consumer Communications Marketers.  As we shift away from white space or interruptive advertising and into a content and user experience centric model, we need to rethink everything we know about media operations and agency structure.  The future does not herald the death of the ad agency, rather it will see an evolution bringing new dynamics and capabilities to brands, publishers, platforms and users.  And ALL of us, be it as marketers, agency people, technologists or media consumers will be along for the ride.