What’s the Biggest Challenge Facing Agencies?


This is the third installment in our series, Fixing the Agency Model, a look at how agencies are innovating and reinventing themselves. Sponsored by Harvard Business School, Executive Education.

Even though agencies are supposed to be ahead of the game when it comes to innovation and the changing digital media world, it’s not always easy. Agencies face their fair share of obstacles.

At Digiday’s Agency Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., we asked agency execs to answer this question: “What’s the biggest challenge facing agencies today?”

Here are some of the responses we got. Watch the video below to see their full comments and responses from others.

Jonah Bloom, chief strategy officer, kbs+
If you want to be relevant as a brand today, in culture you have to be able to respond to culture, and that requires incredibly quick turnover, and I think that’s difficult for agencies and more than it’s difficult for agencies it’s difficult for brands.

Sarah Aitken, managing director, Iris
How to bring clients along with that faster pace in terms of really understanding what are the business results on the fly, being able to optimize, being able to create new and exciting content in a fast and relevant way.

John Winsor, chief innovation officer, Havas/CEO, Victor & Spoils
The digitization of the world and the fact that open systems are taking over in every creative industry. Agencies are typically closed systems that are being challenged by open systems and an open way of doing things.

Patricia Korth-McDonnell, partner and managing director, Huge Los Angeles
Finding talent is always the classic agency refrain, but right now it’s keeping it from startups and technology companies that are targeting us as a source of great designers.

David Smith, founder, Mediasmith
The new challenge is really understanding the technologies and how to integrate the technologies into client solutions. So agencies in effect are becoming systems integrators to some degree, and hiring the right people to evaluate the technologies and deploying the right technologies for your clients is a big challenge.

Image via Shutterstock

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