If you believe even a fraction of what the pundits are telling us about the demise of mass media and traditional advertising, you can assume a lot of us are out of business in another few years.
Granted, we’ve heard these arguments, many of them flawed, in one form or another for years. Michael Crichton wrote Mediasaurus in 1993 and you probably remember Sergio Zyman’s book as well. And yes their hypotheses were different than those we hear today, but somehow the current pronouncements sound a little more convincing.
So what should we do? Hang on for dear life? Resist as long as possible? Attempt to evolve by preserving what we can and getting ready for what’s next?
How about something more radical? Instead of waiting for someone else to put us out of business we do it ourselves. We–magazines, publishers, ad agencies–create our own version of a hedge fund. We invest in a business model that we think is the one that’s most threatening. If our old model survives, we’ll have a new forward facing division; if the old model implodes, we’ll have a head start on our competitors.
Even though my agency is hanging in there right now, maybe this is what I should be working on: a new kind of agency, one with no overhead, few employees, lots of alliances, a partnership with the best crowdsourcing platform I can find, and an expertise in helping my clients do more of it themselves for less. After all, the media, or what’s left of it, is telling them that they can. But if that’s so, someone will have to teach them how. Why leave it up to some innovative, upstart competitor who wants to put me out of business. I can do it myself. What to you think? Should we put ourselves out of business in order to stay in business?