Written by: Alex Lawton


Over the last two decades, agencies have transitioned from a traditional approach to a digital-centric one. Yet, the industry now faces another paradigm shift — the rise of post-digital media agencies. As the contemporary marketing landscape becomes increasingly complex, this new breed of agencies emerges as the solution for brands looking for a holistic, strategic approach that transcends traditional and digital boundaries.

The Convergence Challenge: The Lost Differentiation

One of the most telling signs of the need for this new approach is the lack of differentiation in the agency offering over the last decade. Data suggests that, in recent years, almost 80% of agencies sold nearly identical offerings to brands, couched in slightly varied terminologies. Traditional network media agencies primarily focus on media buying and placement, leaning heavily on relationships with Media Owners and bulk buying advantages such as AVBs. Digital agencies, on the other hand, have centered their strategies around digital channels, often despising traditional media and marketing by labeling them as “dead” and prioritizing siloed approaches, harvesting quick wins, and focusing only on transactional results.

The Perils of Short-termism

An outcome of this lack of differentiation is the industry-wide tilt towards performance-driven metrics. While ROI is indisputably important, an overemphasis on short-term campaign decisions based on transactional data can be detrimental.


Lack of Brand Building: Brands are more than the sum of their transactions. They have values, personalities, and stories. Over-relying on transactional data sidelines this holistic view. Instead of nurturing a brand’s identity and equity, the focus becomes about immediate sales. Over time, this erodes brand loyalty and reduces the brand’s ability to command a premium in the market.

Neglecting Long-term Growth: Quick wins are seductive but can be myopic. An overemphasis on immediate performance can often come at the cost of long-term strategies that could provide sustainable growth.

Consumer Fatigue: In the era of information overload, consumers are bombarded with transactional ads. Brands that only scream “Buy Now!” risk alienating their audience, who seek meaningful engagement beyond mere transactions.

Traditional media and digital agencies have dominated the marketing landscape for two decades and created a dangerous void between both disciplines which has nothing to do with consumer behavior or the marketing needs of their clients.

The narrow focus of both agency types, when looked at through a larger lens, has created a uniformity that doesn’t serve the diverse needs of modern brands. Brands are not looking for siloed solutions; they are looking for partners who can understand the intricate landscape and provide end-to-end solutions.

In my opinion, there are many clients out there desperate for a real difference and these Post-Digital Agencies have a renewed approach that delivers significant benefits to business outcomes with their unique ability to think strategically about brands, audiences, performance, content, advanced analytics, data science and the integration of digital and offline channels combined with real-world below the line experiences.

The Post-Digital Proposition: Making Different Happen

Post-digital media and marketing agencies are entities that are redefining the rules of engagement. But what sets them apart?

Holistic Approach: Instead of compartmentalizing ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’, post-digital agencies see them as parts of a larger whole. Their strategies are not channel or tech-centric but brand and audience-centric.

Multichannel Integration: Post-Digital Brand Strategy Agencies recognize the importance of utilizing the full spectrum of touchpoints to engage audiences effectively.

Emphasis on Strategy: While they recognize the value of transactional data, they don’t let it overshadow the broader brand narrative. Their campaigns are rooted in a brand’s essence and its long-term vision combined with consumer understanding and behavioral insights.

Leveraging Technology Thoughtfully: While digital tools are indispensable, post-digital agencies prioritize their strategic application over their mere use. They harness technology to build deeper relationships with audiences, not just to push sales.

Focus on Long-term Growth: Recognizing that brands have lifecycles beyond quarterly reports, these agencies design campaigns that foster sustainable growth, building brand equity, business outcomes, and transformation alongside immediate ROI.

Privacy-Native Orientation: Post-digital agencies inherently understand the significance of privacy in the modern digital landscape. They integrate data protection measures from the outset, ensuring that privacy isn’t just an afterthought but is ingrained in their core operations. By doing so, they not only comply with global data protection regulations but are also more Ethical from the outset (and out of their own beliefs rather than imposed restrictions) and preemptively address potential future requirements.

Media and Marketing are influencing how people make choices. In essence, this means our overall objective is that more people choose a brand, on more occasions – alone or as part of the selection on their personal menu.

Deep Human Insights: Bridging Data Science with Humanistic ApproachesA defining characteristic of post-digital media agencies is their renewed emphasis on human insights, grounded in the nuanced studies of sociology, psychology, and anthropology. But what sets them further apart is their ability to blend these humanistic approaches with the rigor of advanced statistics and data science. Here’s how they are revolutionizing brand strategy by bridging the qualitative with the quantitative:

Beyond Numbers to Narratives: While transactional data can provide a glimpse into ‘what’ consumers are doing, it often misses out on the ‘who’, the ‘when’, and the ‘why’. By delving deep into sociological and psychological research, agencies are uncovering the motivations, desires, and cultural nuances that drive consumer behavior. This enriched perspective helps brands craft narratives that resonate on a deeply personal level with their audiences. For instance, a report from Harvard Business Review I read some months ago suggests that emotionally engaged customers are no less than three times more likely to recommend a product or service to their peers.

Contextualizing Data with Anthropology: The global marketplace is diverse, with each region having its unique cultural fabric. Anthropological insights allow agencies to contextualize their strategies, ensuring that campaigns are culturally sensitive and resonate authentically with local audiences. A recent study from McKinsey indicates that culturally relevant ads are 80% more effective than generic campaigns, highlighting that it’s never really been about a one-size-fits-all approach, but about crafting strategies that acknowledge and celebrate cultural idiosyncrasies.

Enhanced Predictive Analysis: By combining humanistic insights with data science, post-digital agencies are achieving a higher level of predictive accuracy. While traditional data can predict a purchase based on past behavior, adding layers of psychological and sociological understanding can predict how shifts in societal values or individual motivations might affect future purchasing decisions. Data suggests that Brands leveraging such combined insights have seen a 25% increase in their campaign effectiveness, as concluded per a study from the Data & Marketing Association in 2022.

Richer Consumer Profiles: According to Forbes, brands that adopt psychographic segmentation report a 30% increase in conversion rates compared to their counterparts. Traditional consumer segmentation, based primarily on demographic and transactional data, can be limiting. Post-digital agencies, by blending qualitative research with advanced statistics, are creating richer, multidimensional consumer profiles. These profiles capture not just the age, gender, or buying habits of a consumer, but also their values, aspirations, motivations, passions, and emotional triggers.

Iterative Learning through Data Science: While qualitative research provides depth, data science provides scale. Post-digital agencies are using advanced algorithms to sift through vast amounts of data, identifying patterns that might be invisible to the human eye. When these patterns are analyzed through the lens of sociology, psychology, or anthropology, they yield insights of unparalleled depth and relevance unlocking extraordinary value for their client´s business: a recent survey from Deloitte indicates that brands integrating advanced analytics with qualitative research have witnessed a 15% uptick in customer retention rates.

Emphasis on Trust: Recognizing that trust is the bedrock of lasting client relationships and positive brand perceptions, post-digital agencies prioritize transparency and open communication, often sharing internal day-to-day projects and affairs led by their people in documentary-style external communications. They try to ensure clients and their customers are always in the loop regarding data usage, ensuring no missteps that could jeopardize trust. This emphasis goes beyond mere compliance—it’s about cultivating genuine, trust-based relationships in a digital world often rife with skepticism.

The fusion of humanistic research with data science is changing the game of connecting with consumers. It’s not about choosing between numbers and stories but understanding that both are important. Post-digital media agencies are leading the way with their integrated approach. For brands wanting strong relationships with their audiences, this holistic methodology is not just new but necessary. The rise of new players like Remotive Media is shaking up the marketing world. These agencies offer a refreshing alternative to traditional and digital-only approaches, with strategic thinking and a focus on the audience. As more brands recognize their potential, the influence of these agencies will continue to grow, reshaping the future of marketing. This brings a fresh approach to an industry that’s stuck in specialization and dominated by agency groups and biased trading practices.