Full-Service Or Digital-Only Firm?

Mad Men

Mad Men



18% of marketers believe traditional, full service firms have solid digital skills.

Compared to 29% who believe digital firms have solid traditional skills.

67% do not think digital firms can survive as digital only.

50% believe that full service firms are more likely to win digital assignments during the next three to five years.

Compared to 28% who believe digital firms are the more likely winners of full service assignments.

THOUGHT: The survey leaves “full service agency” undefined but since it was released in Adweek, I’m betting they mean full service advertising agencies.

I began my career in traditional advertising.

Then I started a digital marketing agency back in the mid-nineties whose bread and butter was website design. During that time, a lot of my competitors’ blind spot was marketing: they were coders and designers who could build great websites but didn’t know the first thing about marketing one.

Now I work in the public relations industry that is transforming itself into something called strategic communications and I see a lot of PR and advertising shops whose blind spot is online communications.

The reason marketers feel as the aforementioned numbers say they do is because communications do not occur in a vacuum. That may seem obvious but industries have a tendency to get tunnel vision and develop the blind spots I’ve been speaking about. They don’t know what they don’t know.


I’ve had the good fortune of having spent some time within each industry, so I believe I have the perspective to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Advertising people have amazing creativity to tell compelling, entertaining stories but they tend to expect to be able to essentially shove that entertainment down people’s throats. Doesn’t work that way anymore.

Digital shops have the technical skills to put together the plumbing and infrastructure to make your online presence hum but they tend to get caught up in the digital bells and whistles, sometimes at the expense of usability and communication.

Public relations firms know how to tell stories in the real world but tend to lack an understanding of how to extend those stories online or how people react online to stories they hear offline.

My current employer, Tunheim, happily, happens to be a traditional full-service communications shop with strong digital/online skills. I don’t believe we have a blind spot…but I’m always on the lookout for them.

SUPER COOL TOOL TUESDAY: Facebook Business Page Migration Tool lets you transform a personal Facebook account into an actual Facebook Page.


Thank you for popcorn.