Nancy Hill – My View of the Future

Nancy Hill, President & CEO, 4As

1. What could/should “advertising” look like in 2020?

In 2020, advertising will have no boundaries and the adoption of useful apps is the wave of the future. Agencies will be more willing to work with each other and be less concerned about which is the lead agency on an account. Clients won’t be concerned either but they’ll define integration by picking one person at one agency to manage the execution of a concept or campaign by five other agencies.

Additionally, creative technologists are starting to grasp the concept of creativity and how they can apply their skills deliver “the possible” in advertising, no matter the idea, the media platform, or the utility. We’ll see digital agencies with different skill sets emerge.

The topics of social media will inform newscasts and TV shows even more than they do now as there will be even less distinction between the physical world and the digital world.

Some people would say that I’m a bit of digital geek, so I try to stay up on technology as part of my personal life. But really identifying and prioritizing which issues to address comes from constant communication with our 4A’s members.

We ask them what’s keeping them up at night and what we can do to help. They are the ones who make sure we know what’s important and how quickly we need to get on an issue.

2.   What do we need to do now for this future?

Just as BBDO is about the work, the work, the work, all agencies must be about talent, talent, and talent—how to cultivate and hold onto the best people. But we also must as an industry sell ourselves to recruit innovative thinkers to advertising and marketing instead of other agencies getting their talents.

The dearth of fresh talent has always been a concern, but never more so than now. Too many young people are attracted to other careers that they perceive as being more creative and entrepreneurial and that’s causing a high turnover rate among recent entrants into our field. They’re leaving agencies to work in industries that seem to promise greater potential for individual growth.

Another major challenge is in the evolved nature of young professionals, who are digital natives and understand and use advanced technology. It’s second nature to them. They have never known a world without the web or digital technology and they know they have a plethora of choices in pursuing careers in tech-related industries; that coupled with higher expectations of a comfortable work-life balance, of which, admittedly there is very little in advertising, makes competition for talent even more fierce.

Education is another vital force to the future of our industry and expanding educational opportunities is a role that we proudly must undertake. Not only is it personally satisfying to guide and nurture professionals of all ages, we gain immediate and long-term value to our industry. One of the most important aspects of retaining creative technologists especially is by providing and environment and culture in which they are constantly learning, improving their skills and being challenged to figure out how to bring a concept to life in ways that have never been done before.

These technologists have a lot to learn from trained ad professionals, but they are also more than eager to contribute their creative thoughts, energy and fearlessness. We need to make sure with our outreach and education programs that as many of them as possible choose to make those contributions in our industry.