Ad agency creative people used to wield extraordinary powers that ordinary mortals couldn't. Make a stat? Poof! Create a keyline with a little knife and a can of rubber cement? Sure. Understand arcane terms like "font" and "kerning?" Of course.
We could even remove a wart from a model's nose when Photoshop was just the place on the corner that developed your Kodachrome.
Now the magic is gone.
Technology has simplified our business. But as it's taken the mystery out of the production process, it's unfortunately caused the respect for our talents to disappear as well. According to a study by the Association of National Advertisers, about half of companies surveyed have established in-house agencies. The primary reasons given were cost efficiencies and quicker turnaround. Well, that takes care of "cheap" and "fast." Now, how about "good?"
That's where in-house agencies come up short. Sixty-one percent of those same advertisers surveyed also felt in-house agencies lacked strategic thinking and 50 percent said is was more challenging to get fresh thinking from internal teams.
This just goes to show It's not really the techniques or technology that make good advertising, it's the thinking and the expertise. Having InDesign doesn't make someone a creative wizard anymore than having an oboe makes him a musician.
The economy has changed the way everybody does business--possibly forever. And technology has made DIY marketing more attractive, easier, and cheaper than ever before. But it hasn't perhaps made it better. Combining the efficiencies with the fresh ideas of outside sources is the kind of alchemy that uses the best of both.
Today's marketing professionals need to be able to work alongside the in-house agency to make marketing magic. We know that the best ideas come from collaboration.