Where Do We Go From Here?

Tomorrow I am meeting with someone who just moved here from Toronto. He wanted to get an idea of the Vancouver ad scene and asked to chat with ‘lil ol’ me. It made me start thinking about the overall advertising agency scene – not just in Vancouver, but across Canada and the States.

There is no real data or a great source that I came across in my initial search for information. All I’ve been hearing is that East Coast US agencies continue to bleed people. During the recession, the US lost around 160,000 jobs in our industry, says Ad Age. (I want to subscribe to their “ad data” to get more info on worldwide agencies, but not sure if it’s worth the cash yet.)

Apparently we, as an industry, are now recovering and when I look at the job openings on the various sites, I see major growth job growth throu

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ghout the industry. But I think the shift is in full-force now. The traditionalists are either evolving or dying off. The whole time they were resisting an inevitable change, it was going on around them. Print is no longer what it used to be – but online is yet to be fully discovered. So where does that leave us? Needless to say, gone are the days of the mass DM. Now we worry about open and bounce rates instead of indicias. Environmental sensitivity is rising and the public has been calloused against many forms of advertising.

Client’s options are now expanding beyond the traditional advertising agency. Considering the recent financial upsets, clients are now, more than ever hyper-sensitive to cost. And rightfully so. I think the past year has been an opportunity for reflection for both, clients and agencies. Clients expect far more from their agencies, more than they have received in the past. And agencies now need to either tighten their belts or risk losing the client to a smaller, more nimble provider.

I’ve noticed these smaller shops coming up and they are really making their mark. (GO LITTLE GUY!) They may have fewer clients, but they have a strong focus and strategic partners to propel the business forward. Now is the time to do more with less. These smaller shops have team members who are multi-talented, forward-thinking, proactive individuals who are not about to sit back and play the “ad game”. It’s not game, it’s a business. Your clients expect results not lip service.

Budgets are drying up on both sides and online seems to be the logical answer. DMs have become eDMs. Newsletters are now e-newsletters. Print ads have given way to big box, banners and skyscrapers. Is tangible advertising completely on its way out? What about billboards and transit? Will they too go the way of the newspapers? *sputter*

As of today, the majority of openings in our industry all programmers, developers, animators…basically if you still have all of your Star Wars figurines in their original packaging, you won’t have a problem finding a job.  But for the rest of us analog drones who are trying to sort out what the next step should be, well, I would say pick up your lightsabers and figure it out. The face of the industry is changing and we need to keep up. What exactly that entails is still to be determined. But if you figure it out, let me know.

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