future thinking

How will creative agencies operate in the future?


With more workers expected to become independent consultants in the next few years, the freelance economy redefine how creative and marketing agencies operate. The rise of marketplaces that provide ongoing and easier work streams for marketing, advertising, creative and technology talent will see true disruptions and innovations in the marketing and advertising sector.

The choice of platforms launching for entrepreneurs and small business owners to connect with freelance talent from around the globe has grown over the years.  Small agencies and individuals providing consulting gigs are now working on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, Guru delivering cheaper prices and improving the competitive nature of pricing in the industry.

Growth on these platforms will only continue with the disruption of the labor economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, predicts that the freelancers and temps will increase from 17% in 2017 to 20% by 2020, a 13% increase from early 2000.   Since the need for outsourcing increases and future platforms expand it will be possible to see continuous growth and innovations from major providers like Guru, Upwork and Fiverr and new comers innovating in the market.  Here are some predictions that will take place over the next 10 years.

Established agencies using freelance platforms

Freelance platforms will be the go to contingent labor solution for the world’s top creative agencies looking to hire talent with specialized expertise and to fill resource gaps. Many of the world’s top agencies could be seen bidding on contracts on freelance websites next to smaller design agencies as part of outreach programs to diversify their portfolios and flex their creative muscles. While smaller agencies will be spotted for acquisition by one of the big 4’s.

Getting what you need faster

As a client seeking digital services, working with an agency can be tough. Creating a single advertising campaign and all of its elements can take weeks using a traditional system of meetings and collaboration. Through digital project management tools which are built into many platforms like Upwork advancing, it is possible for large teams to work in real time and to pick individuals for each aspect of a campaign. This ensures that clients can enjoy a more efficient, more affordable and more convenient services.

Building the agency of the future

With so many individual freelancers looking to secure larger projects, the world is seeing a number of freelancers pooling their resources to offer integrated services for their clients. Just as a large creative agency may employ several graphic designers, several web developers, several marketing and communication managers, freelancers will be working together collaboratively online and in multiple countries to complete work together. In the future, we may start to see more partnerships between freelancers to form virtual agencies through dedicated platforms. With advances and the ease of use in collaboration and project management technologies, this will become an effortless go to solution for freelancers and clients alike.

Improvements in technology

Far into the future holds a different story. Creative professional could be eliminated with machine learning and AI technology. Currently with the development of IBM’s Watson and several other large data/machine learning projects we can see the start of certain jobs within the creative industry being phased out. These types of AI systems can do a massive amount of research looking into competitor data, checking analytics and provide recommendations to boot. Agencies could continue to see some huge competition not only from individuals but eventually machines. Don’t worry, your job is secure for the time being however.

While it can be difficult for some of these current machine configurations to produce an original logo or a webpage for a company, it could be only a matter of time before it’s possible for advanced computers to build content for a company and create marketing materials based off of the same sound research/analytics that any agency would. As machine learning continues to improve we could start to see jobs in creative agencies disappearing within the next decade.

With creative and marketing agencies, freelancing remains very much in demand with the prosperity of online businesses and the DIY digital mentality of many entrepreneurs today. The future for marketing, advertising and creative agencies is changing right before our eyes and it is important to keep with the trends.



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