Information and messaging and the future of creative agencies

Posted by on Feb 9, 2008 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

23370549 Pic c/o Jupiter

Interesting report from Forrester this week which suggests (c/o adweek) that agencies are

“in “a world of hurt” because consumers are tuning out the messages the industry is predicated on producing. Instead, it believes shops need to be organized around communities, not disciplines. What it is calling “the connected agency” would not only know certain communities but also be active members of these groups. Pushing messages would give way to encouraging voluntary engagement, and ongoing conversations would replace time-based campaigns”

Which is kind of half right.

Yes, our obsession with messages and vehicles to send them is really out of date (and fairly pointless given that messages and information has only a marginal role in changing behaviour, particularly brands sending messages AT consumers) and yes, agencies need to organise themselves around the social world of consumers.

But a big fat “NO” to the idea that there are “fixed communities”: this reeks all too much of the network theory that geekworld likes; human social connections are much more interesting than that model – derived from the tech world – suggest.

And a “Where have you been, my friend?” to the thought that the digital guys are going to be any better: they’re also mostly tied up with old ideas about influence and information being a key driver of behaviour (of course, they would be – that’s how digital stuff is framed, mostly.

Adweek cites Peter Kim of Forrester saying “I can’t say there’s an agency now that’s the agency of the future,”.

Well, I think he could have tried a bit harder. Looking here, here , here or even here maybe or here….There are folk doing interesting stuff and thinking about behaviour and how to shape it with brand behaviours and peer-to-peer interactions…

In anycase, not sure the message from Forrester is likely to change things – however many times we say something, doesn’t really change things. Far better for Forrester to move themselves from information provider to behavioural exemplar…that’d be a way to stimulate change!


  1. Peter Kim
    February 9, 2008

    FYI you can download the entire report at
    I’d recommend reading the primary source so your analysis can be better informed.

  2. Marty
    February 9, 2008

    I find it interesting that Forrester (a technology research firm) doesn’t understand how people interact and seems to be focused on the limits of the channel. I also find it distressing that a free report is posted only to require more registration than most things I encounter on the Internet so they can try to sell to me with my contact information.
    From what I’ve seen, consumers are willing to listen to and act on the messages they receive across the multitiude of channels available to them, the problem seems to partly be that a) they flow in and out of group ‘membership’ and that said membership is no longer static and b) that they are faced with so many channels and voices asking for their attention, they often shut many out sometimes opting for specific and other times happy with the shot gun approach.

  3. David Koopmans
    February 10, 2008

    Peter Kim kindly refers us to the source report, recommending that we read this so “analysis can be better informed”.
    Does this mean that Peter doesn’t believe Mark’s analysis is well informed?
    If so, I would really appreciate if Peter would use the comment to argue where he sees the weakness in the analysis.
    Look forward to the conversation.

  4. Peter Kim
    February 10, 2008

    Hi David (and Mark),
    I posted the link so you can read the report in its entirety and get more detail beyond what Adweek reported. Perhaps a better choice of words would have been “more thoroughly informed,” so apologies if a judgment call was implied there. I’d think that reactions may (or may not) change based on reading the full concept.
    I’ll circle back and comment on Mark’s points (and others) in my own blog – great to see this discussion taking place.
    On a last note – I’ve consistently seen a disconnect between agency and client-side opinions of the research…

  5. [ paul isakson ]
    February 13, 2008

    Forrester to Agencies: You’re Doing It Wrong

    [image via ginthefer] A new report from Forrester has been covered in AdWeek and WARC recently. (PDFs of articles below if links are broken.) According to the articles, Forrester is stating that consumers don’t trust the mass marketing messages cranked…