I've spent a lot of time over the past few months talking with people in the industry about the state of play, and I'm sorry to report that the general consensus is gloomy. Despite this being an incredibly exciting time to be working in the media/communications business, the model seems very broken. Here's a quick laundry list of what I heard.
- Shorter and shorter client relationships
- Increasing shift from retainer to project based relationships
- The rise of procurement
- Intense margin pressures at agencies
- Talent leaving the industry
- Lack of training
- General dissatisfaction in the ranks - "Another weekend in the office"
- Similar dissatisfaction at senior levels "Where else would I move to...they're all the same?"
- Increasing resentment to the culture of awards
On the positive, I heard a lot of excitement over how things could be if we could only work out how to change.
My reason for writing this isn't to be a downer, but to promote a bit more discussion about the future and the changes that need to happen. My endeavor isn't purely charitable. As a small business owner in the industry I'm acutely aware of the need to change and move with the times. As such, getting the debate going can only help me to think ahead.
Lee Clow (TBWA God) famously said the we are living in the most exciting time for our industry since the invention of television. My question is how do we get from today to the place that Mr. Clow has in his head? Any thought welcome.