What Will Digital Agencies Look Like In 2020?
The long promised freelance company will finally emerge as a functional model. In 2020, Millennials will comprise half of the workforce, with Gen X'ers reaching their peak earning years. Slow economic growth will continue to hamper job prospects for young workers, allowing competitive freelancers to band together around projects rather than around companies. This is already happening with former Agency Boomers finding the Gen X'ers to do work on a consulting basis (or outsourced overseas). In 8 years, the financial models for companies using large agencies will be broken. The boutique model will create a lot of value for the individuals, but the large overhead and years of failing to train new workers will eventually lead to staffing firm agency models.
Using a mixture of corp-to-corp and W-2 contractors, firms will utilize their brands and their creative, but hire out their web, direct response, and video work. Social media will just be called marketing, as it will be fully integrated into the marketer's skill set. Agencies will be expert at niche messaging, but the fragmented nature of media (less television, more streaming, more individual choice, less monopoly by cable and Hollywood) will have companies picking agencies based on their ability to deliver to smaller segments of the populace. Some few agencies will turn into customer service firms, adding this into their mix to create a steady income supply. They will first be called social media companies, but later folded into support divisions inside the corporate office.
For the quick and the talented, 2020 will be profitable and easier. For those aging and who have cannot quickly get to speed on a project, they will struggle with few internal jobs to make up for the lack of big agency projects.