Small to mid-size ad agency owners and executives need to be better equipped with digital technology. It will not only impact agency business but also new business development.
I having a discussion with the creative director of a small agency who is in his early 50’s. He was expressing his frustration with changing digital technology and its impact upon his agency and the advertising industry.
He said, “I have no problem creating a print ad but I don’t know where to even start to create an ad for something like the iPad.”
I asked him if he was ready to retire. His answer was no. Then, I raised the question, “what are you going to do to get up to speed?” He didn’t have an answer.
Big agencies know that digital training is now critical. Rising to meet the escalating demands for digital, most of them are now requiring that almost all of their employees develop digital skills. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the bigger agencies are spending roughly $750,000 to $1.5 million on digital training programs this year.
“We can no longer just acquire [digital] firms; it’s just not good enough,” says Bob Jeffrey, JWT’s chief executive.
WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather has upped their digital training by 150% this year through the following programs to help to help workers acquire digital skills:
- Hyper Island—A workshop for senior executives including client services, creative, planning and production on the implications of digital on the business.
- Digital Acceleration—A content-driven training program that provides in-depth learning on key new digital trends/offerings such as Internet search, customer relationship management, mobile marketing, analytics, etc.
- Digital Boot Camp—aka “Digital 101,” an agency-wide program offered monthly that covers the basics of digital channels including social media, digital production, etc.
- Associates Program—A training program for entry-level employees that provides them with cross-training across agency disciplines with digital as a key component.
- Ogilvy Digital Lab—Special events featuring emerging media and innovation. Includes bringing in industry experts in specific digital areas—such as, Mobile Social Day, Google Day, Out of Home Innovation, etc.
Read the full WSJ article, ‘Kids Lend a Digital Hand: Ad Agencies Seek Help From Students, Even Preteens, to Get Up to Internet Speed’
I love this quote by author Clay Shirky, particularly as I think about how the rapidly advancing digital technology is impacting our industry:
“It is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”
What are you doing to prepare your agency for this digital revolution?
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- 2011 Forecast: 100 Global Trends That Will Drive Consumer Behavior
- 16 of the Top Quotes from Fast Company’s The Future of Advertising
- 50 of the Best Insights from Ad Age’s First Ever Small Agency Conference
- Status Quo Just Won’t Cut It Anymore for Ad Agency New Business
- Ad Agencies in “The Great Race” for New Business