Digital is not dead

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 5 March 2015

Digital agencies have rubbished claims that they will cease to exist in two years with several digital agency bosses, both past and present, believing that the digital naysayers don't understand the remit of pure-play digital shops. 

Matt Griffin chief executive of the Deepend Group told AdNews that the reason people continue to claim that digital shops are a dying breed is because they only think about digital in terms of marketing.

“The concept of what most people think digital is, is so routed in marketing because that's all that they've really seen,” Griffin said.

“People think digital is all washed up and finished because the above-the-line agencies have digital capability, but what's happened is exactly what happened 20 years ago, there was a bunch of specialist agencies set up because advertising agencies didn't know what they were doing with technology.”

Griffin explained that if people simply used the word technology instead digital, there would be no question over the existence of digital agencies.

“There's always a need for somebody to be very a tune with innovative techniques and innovative processes, complex systems. There's always a place for those people, more so than ever before.”

“The concept that digital is dead is just so ridiculous, because technology is not dead, it's ever increasing. The whole concept of enterprise and the complexities of enterprise, in this brave new world, almost post internet world, is just so complex.”

Griffin is answering the claim from SapientNitro Australia MD Marcos Kurowksi who told AdNews last month that: “In two years’ time, there will be no such thing as a digital agency. That’s if you are a digital agency. If you are purely playing in that space, if you are an R/GA, if you were a Razorfish, if you were just in that space, you’re going to be in big trouble. You’re going to get squeezed, and we see this every day already – but it’s accelerating,” he said.

Iain McDonald co-founder of Amnesia / Razorfish also disagrees with Kurowksi pointing out that that if there is no longer a need for digital agencies or their skill-sets why do bigger holding companies continue to purchase them.

“If the big agencies have got it covered, then why are they still buying up digital shops like Soap and Reactive,” McDonald said.

“The only thing these predictions say to me is that the industry is still missing the point about what hasn't happened yet and what’s needed to be a part of what is still to come. Some of it is certainly semantics, but believing there will be no digital agencies around is a big distraction from the landscape reality.”

McDonald also seconds Griffin's point saying that the term digital agency is simply today’s name for any agency that’s doing technology related marketing for clients that others aren’t focused on or simply can’t do.

“Maybe these agencies will have another new name as digital becomes more of a texture across every other channel, but the types of companies with 30-100 people that are being bought today, doing edgier stuff will still be around in years to come,” he said.

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