Digital and Agency – What’s Next?

Who will own digital in the future and prosper out of the tech based advertising and marketing revolution? This is a question that has been on my mind for a while.

For a while the answer seemed to be the Digital Agency.

Yet recently I have noticed a pivot in the digital advertising landscape and I am seeing the resurgence of traditional advertising agencies rebuilding their internal digital capabilities.

Back in 2013 I first started to notice that many digital agencies were offering integrated work to their clients, and why not? If they could solve complex business problems through technology why not also tackle print & TV?

The problem was that they couldn’t compete with the multi-national ad agencies that have been doing Big Brand ideas for decades and some digital agencies found it hard to achieve the same successes.

Most digital agencies played it smart and stuck to their digital DNA.

Fast-forward to 2015 and the big agencies are still the ones securing the large retained accounts. They have begun beefing up their digital offerings and if they manage to convince their clients they can deliver on large complex pieces of digital work, they will become hard to beat.

Digital agencies might find it difficult to overtake the big guys because the big guys get the big ideas – it’s part of their DNA. It’s what marketers want, that one big insight that can change consumer perception of the brand.

Digital is great for finding more stuff but it won’t do the thinking for the brand. That still needs to be done by a human brain.

Maybe if programmatic creative started working, things might get really interesting but for now the agency model that will own digital in the future will be the one that truly understands how to shift consumers behaviour through insightful thinking.


Nick Barry is the Founder of Interactiveinc, established in 2009 to find digital jobs for digital people. For more information visit