What Consumes Me

Okay…I’m officially annoyed.  

I read Spyro Kourtis’ Digital AOY? I Don’t See the Need in Adweek today and beyond acknowledging that he was opening himself up to the “you-just-don’t-get-it” people, his OP/ED show’s how disconnected he and so many executives in our business are about digital marketing.

Mr. Kourtis writes:

That’s why I say Adweek’s Digital Agency of the Year is, well…nonsense.

“Digital” is not a discipline or a profession the way brand marketing or direct marketing or public relations are. Those professions have given us a disciplined way to approach marketing communications. Digital is a tool for communicating. Digital is a technology. It’s a media channel. And digital marketers who operate in a silo are limited in their strategic value.

Being named Digital Agency of the Year is a tremendous achievement. But it’s a little like being television agency of the year or print agency of the year. If you can’t communicate in all of the media that make sense for your discipline, your agency is too limited. An award for Best Digital Campaign makes sense to me. An award for Best Digital Agency doesn’t.

This kind of thinking suggests an assembly line approach to marketing. Like we’re building widgets and somewhere in this process, the widget goes through the digital department — like a print ad in need of typesetting in the bygone days of advertising — so it can be embedded into a digital format. It suggests there aren’t manifold approaches to digital marketing — SEM, SEO, branding, direct response, film, animation, viral, social media among others — just one. 

Mr. Kourtis talks about ‘digital’ as one piece of the marketing puzzle but fails to mention anything about target audiences and segmentation. How does he know this isn’t the entire puzzle for marketers trying to hit hard to reach audiences found predominantly online like teens and tweens.

Here’s the cold hard truth about why you need Digital AOY awards Spyro. They serve as the blueprint for what mainstream agencies need to look like in the next 5 years (maybe sooner).

Adweek is giving mainstream agencies a gift by spotlighting firms like R/GA. It’s handing John, Michael, Maurice and Martin the keys to the kingdom and showing them the path to rebooting their agencies and trust me — they’re taking notes.