Here's great analysis of the future of digital in specialist and non-specialist agencies from www.adweek.com
The main thrust of the article argues that traditional agencies are muscling in on digital campaigns focusing on content, especially viral video. Thanks to social media, the biggest challenge for brands is often
less about creating the kind of technically sophisticated
"immersive experiences" that digital shops have specialized in and
more about crafting engaging content that people are likely to
share with each other.
Unsurprisingly, so-called traditional agencies are bullish about social because it taps into time-honoured communications skills rather than technology.
"Digital used to be this thing that was a little more computer and
Internet based. You had to know coding, Flash and HTML," said
Edward Boches, chief creative officer at Mullen. "Now, what you
have to understand is how consumers behave in relationship to
content, community, technology and media."
Being responsible for content in a digital agency, I'm inclined to see both sides of the story. Along with a team of 10 others, I try to hot desk with developers as much as possible to ensure that we achieve the right blend of software/design/content skills at the very start of the campaign.
The goal here is to create a sustained experience that ripples through communities and triggers conversations that flow across campaign platform sites, established social media channels and real world events.
Impact is everything, but the key word here is 'sustain'. Seeding the conversation with compelling content as part of a structured campaign remains at the heart of what we do. Making a splash is all well and good, but for sustained campaigns that maximise audience engagement, you need to cast more than one pebble into the pond.
And that's where you still need the technical expertise. Selecting the right content management system matters deeply if you want a team of community and content managers to feed the campaign with articles, blogs and video. Simple, but effective integration with Twitter, Facebook and other established channels also helps.
Detailed campaign analysis is also critical. Again, some platforms are better integrated with analytics tools than others. Most importantly of all, you need social media and analytics experts to measure the depth of audience engagement and feed these results back to the content team so that they can refine content and themes in response to audience interest.
The adweek article
has more good discussion on these points. Strongly recommend you give it a read, and if it stirs up new ideas about the future mix of technology, social and content, drop me a note below.