The world of Don Draper and the “gentlemen” of Madison Avenue ad agencies are as outdated as a bouffant hairstyle.

Check out the graphics below. Graphic #1 shows the number of search queries initiated for the phrase “advertising agency.”  Graphic #2 shows the number of searches for “marketing strategy” over the same period. Acknowledging that search queries represent the cultural trends and needs, a shift is clear.

Graphic #1

Graphic #2

Businesses are changing how they think about marketing, what they need from marketing, and how they figure out what to do next. While there may still be a need for an “Agency of Record,” the search trend shows that it is not quite that simple.

We All go to YouTube Anyway

We’re in the midst of shifting to a new normal. When the coffee maker breaks, we don’t find a repair shop. We google how to fix a coffee maker, go to a YouTube video to show us how, and then to Amazon to buy a newer model. How did we get from a caffeine-deprived state to Amazon? As soon as we hit enter on our search query (“how to fix a coffee maker”), the invisible trail was activated. Key words in our query (“coffee maker” and “fix”) pinged search campaigns set up by Amazon, other retailers, and various coffee maker manufacturers. We are then served ads by these campaigns and we ultimately buy, because the coffee machine manufacturer knew you were looking to replace your outdated version before you did.

When planning their campaigns, these advertisers knew to add searches related to broken coffee makers, not just coffee makers. They knew to have digital ads on a variety of channels (search campaigns, YouTube), not just standard retail websites. And they knew that the assets and messaging needed to match the channel, not just the campaign. They understood that all of these pieces needed to work cohesively.

Your next marketing campaign may be a mixture of things you are testing. A mashup of ideas you found on a marketing vlog, are copying from someone’s insta, and an offer that you hope will create interest. But is every piece in that plan aligned, will they work together or against each other? Do you know how to adjust messaging for each audience and channel, and how to segment that audience so that each set gets the right visual?

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