The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story today talking about the proliferation of ad networks and do-it-yourself ad placement.
Increasingly, agencies are using technological tools to counter this process of "disintermediation," as it is known in the industry. Tacoda founder Dave Morgan said, "If technology is going to automate the rest of media, then agencies will be cut out unless they control platforms as well."
In economics, disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middleman". Disintermediation was the big buzz of the dot.boom-and-bust era of the late 90’s and led to countless stories and blog discussions bemoaning the impact of Google on the future of ad agencies.
Disintermediation happens when technologies provide a method to cut someone out of a transaction.
If you are in the .30 second spot business or the media-buying business, you have a reason to worry.
Agencies and marketers are in the communication business, and the agencies that understand this shouldn't worry. It is not about controlling the network or the platform. It is about creating realized value and providing knowledge and experience that the client does not have internally.
Railroads had trouble until they realized they were in the transportation business and not the railroad business. Agencies who understand that they are in the communication business and are truly invested in the success of their clients will have no reason to worry.