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Legacy Ad and PR Agency Customer Exodus


Marketers worldwide are shifting their budgets into cheaper, more measurable categories. In most cases, that means online marketing. Meanwhile, traditional advertising and PR firms use their industry associations to spread FUD that new methods aren't effective.

Regardless, these legacy firm's concerted smear campaign is clearly failing to stop the continued exodus of even their most loyal customers.

In a survey by the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), 81 percent of respondents said they plan to invest at least as much in digital marketing in 2009 as in the previous year.

Ironically, more than 77 percent of traditional advertising agencies are increasing the amount of digital in their budgets by 1 percent to 29 percent. And over 10 percent are upping online budgets by 30 percent or more.

In addition, about 15 percent of digital agencies, digital service providers and freelancers plan to increase digital budgets by 30 percent or more. Brand agencies were least likely to add to digital budgets, with one-half planning no shift at all.

When asked if they were doing more digital work in the wake of the economic downturn, at least 36 percent of advertising professionals of all stripes said yes, and many expect to take on significantly more.

"The economic crisis will accelerate the shift of focus and importance from traditional media to digital media," wrote SoDA analysts. The SoDA findings are backed up by an earlier survey from Ad Media Partners, which found executives planning to increase digital spending from search to banners.

The combination of accountability, convergence and the infusion of digital media into every facet of life makes the future look bright -- for marketers making the move to digital marketing. In contrast, the mixed messages from traditional Ad and PR firms merely assures their continued decline.

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