Woah, baby… what a year 2010 has been for Marketing Communications! And 2011 looks to be just as interesting!
Since I went from “Gainfully Employed” to “Gainfully Unemployed” this year, I think I have a slightly odd perspective of the economic climate in 2010 and where 2011 is headed.
I left my “Traditional” agency position in 2010 due an overwhelming trend of companies utilizing more nimble, economical and progressive resources. The interest in working with a traditional agency model – layers of bureaucracy, pricing to sustain monster overhead costs, lethargic action – was waning. And while our government was telling us the economy was gaining ground, I was watching the foundation in the Midwest crumble under our feet. Thus, traditional agency clients were backing off their marketing budgets or dropping out of the picture altogether.
Small businesses, on the other hand, were hopping. I watched as agency after agency reduced their staffs to a percentage of their former glory to keep up with the changes, but in the long-run, the 1990’s model of marketing communications was too burdensome and the smaller houses were picking up the slack and running jetting into the future.
It was no longer “Call such-n-such at Name-Name & Namerson Agency to get that ad rate or media buy quoted.” Sammy Smallbusiness was wearing that hat, as well as all of the other hats!
From creative director/writer to media buyer and interactive developer, one and two-man shops were trouncing out the larger agencies just by streamlining duties saying, “There are no boundaries,” and consolidating costs. Instead of Client A needing to talk to an entire team of marketers to get a campaign off the ground, they simply walked into a coffee shop and had a meeting with one, maybe two or three motivated and talented small business owners and the ball was rolling.
In 2010, Small Business took the lead and the bigger agencies saw the trend.
“…companies have hired temporary workers in significant numbers. In November, they accounted for 80 percent of the 50,000 jobs added by private sector employers, according to the Labor Department.’
“Workers are accepting that jobs and employers aren’t a lifetime ticket to anything. Companies are realizing that working in agile shorter term chunks and projects with highly skilled (and often cloud based) resources brings new blood, new expertise, and results with far less risk.”
Here’s the caveat … 2011 is going to the litmus test for our changing economy.
Just as in the “.com” boom of the ‘90s there were thousands of start-ups that opened their doors and within a year (for some, even less time) were closed.
Before the mass exodus of agency and marketing staffers begins, PLEASE remember this:
Small businesses that are truly succeeding in today’s economy are pioneers not copycats. They evolved out the stagnate protoplasm of agency dino-dung and are fulfilling a need that was lacking in the previous economic model. (Efficiency, innovation, focus, flexibility, etc.) In 2011 they’ll have to sustain the excitement of that evolution as well as build on a shaky foundation.
While savvy trend-watchers are already taking advantage of the change in attitude when it comes to small businesses; just as in any economic boon, somewhere soon, someone will hang out their shingle and you’ll hear a quiet, yet powerful “pop,” and the air will start escaping quickly.
I’m interested to see what happens in 2011. I do see the marcomm world continually splintering off into inspiring, outstanding small businesses. But I can also smell the aroma of stale ideas and regurgitated planning from 2004. I hope, for the sake of those moving into the arena, the planning has been thorough, unique and focused on delivering a TRUE branding experience.
Otherwise we’ll hear that “pop” sooner than we’d hoped…
Personally, I’m drawing up detailed plans for world domination. If that world includes you, please beware…
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef