I read with great interest Giselle Abrovovich's recent Digiday article on "5 Ways Brands are Cutting Out Agencies." It seems that whether they're flirting with digital start-ups, generating social content or running their own programmatic trading machinery, clients just can't wait to elbow their agencies out of the way. Or so it would seem. To me the whole issue is a little more complicated, interesting and full of opportunity.
Let's start with the premises that are prompting marketers to "do it themselves" or work directly with publisher and technology suppliers. There's likely an assumption -- often correct -- that the agency is still a service business that's going to bill the client by the middle-man-hour for new practices and capabilities where they may not have any deep expertise. Essentially, that the agency will be "learning on the client's dime" and not adding enough value to justify the extra steps and fees.
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