This week I presented a late breaking bid for a job in partnership with a creative boutique. Though neither of us got the job (the client went with their soon-to-be-erstwhile-AOR) it was a good experience and laid the groundwork for future collaboration.
During the process we talked about the future on a macro scale in a string of emails. Based on this and other conversations I’ve had, the marketing, communications and PR industry is really on the cusp of something huge. I think the latest financial paroxysms and industry convulsions have opened the eyes of many folks — both clients and marketers — to the potential of working outside of the boundaries of the traditional agency system. Agency life has always been filled with freelancers, solo-practitioners and the like. It’s not a life for everybody and many people say, even now, “I need a full time job, I need the stability.” Stable marketing jobs is one of the funniest oxymorons in the world. As the latest shakeouts at shops prove, stability is a fiction.
Great talent now throngs the market, creating an enormous, virtual, open-source agency filled with folks who now see that the best way to go is your own way, in collaboration with others. Combine a shop like exUrban Inc. that covers brand strategy and production with a creative boutique and you’ve got a virtual agency, custom built for your needs at that time. You could call this model on-demand marketing. This is a good time for marketers, self-employed agency professionals, and the boutique agencies that are now popping up all over. I’m not sure how good it is for the giants (who will certainly persist, just in some as-yet-to-be-determined form). The future is now.