Publishers Buying Marketing Agencies Is Just One Sign of the Times
Editor's Note: Yesterday, AdAge ran a piece titled, "Publishers Snapped Up Marketing Agencies at Unprecedented Rate in 2016." PubExec blogger BoSacks shares his take on why this trend should come as no surprise.
Some time ago Bob Garfield, one of my favorite provocative columnists and also the co-host of On the Media, said, "We are in the dawning of the Relationship Era, in which brands must find human connections between themselves and stakeholders as opposed to purchasing attention for the purpose of persuading strangers to buy something." He was right then, and he is correct now.
Sometimes it's hard to move past our traditional thinking. I think that's because we are wired to want to be safe, and that desire for safety often cripples our need for aggressive creativity. But the truth is, we all need to take risks and we all need to challenge our assumptions. Why, you might ask? Because we are not only in a digital revolution, we are also in a social revolution. And they are tied to each other in ways we are still trying to comprehend, so that we as capitalists can maximize the relationship for an honest profit.
Marketing, advertising, and publishing are more complex than ever before. In the next five years or so the three services will rely completely on adapting to our largely tech-driven, utopian vision of making every single message relevant to the individual receiver/reader. Or as Bob Garfield said, so that we can develop relevant relationships.
It should be no surprise to anyone that publishers are snapping up marketing agencies at an unprecedented rate. But that is just a small part of the evolving story. Marketers, too, are starting their own publications and/or buying existing publications at an unprecedented rate.
Media, whatever that is nowadays, is an ever-growing hybrid concoction of formerly agreed upon separate skill sets and formerly different media responsibilities into a mass communication free-for-all. No facet is left untouched by probing seekers of new revenue streams.
I wonder if any of us those new to the industry, or the old timers, will recognize our industry in five to ten years? What will be the similarities and what will be the evolutionary outcome? The only thing I know for sure is that attention is monetizable. Those that can gather the customers' attention will have the requisite revenue necessary for corporate survival.
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.