So which agencies will survive and even thrive over the next 5 years? We believe that it will be the agencies that think Twitter and Facebook first, not TV. Most agencies are still out there trying to buy their media when the tools to “earn” it have never been greater. While marketing spending will continue to increase, traditional media spending will continue to decline. The new agency of this decade must possess the creative and technological skills necessary to implement social campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.
While the money will keep flowing to agencies, the mix is, and will be, drastically different. Social media campaigns that flow organically and are clearly trackable will be key. The challenge for agencies will be how to engage with social media in an authentic way. Consumers are smarter than most agencies give them credit for and they are certainly far smarter today in an environment where they have the ability to research millions of articles and blogs through their Google toolbar.
If you are one of those people that think social media is a passing fad and that it will slowly die off like some other disruptive technologies have, just look at the numbers for a second. Twitter currently has 6 million users. Some predict that it could reach 50 million by the end of 2009. Facebook has 200 million users. New tools and applications are being developed daily to help people use social media more effectively. And, the number of participants is growing at an incredible pace.
The agencies that embrace social media and find ways to engage consumers with earned media will be the all-stars of this decade.