Case Studies Blog

If you work in professional services start looking for a new career.

12th January 2018


My working life started when I joined Leo Burnett as an Account Manager 24 years ago. Advertising was in its heyday and it was a wonderful time to be working in advertising, even if it didn’t always feel like it at the time. No internet so no social media, no proliferation of TV advertising just ITV and Channel 4.

Twenty years ago marketing was enjoying the sort of growth in investment that social media has enjoyed over the last 10 years. In terms of percentage spend however TV advertising budgets in 1984 dwarfed the social media spends of today in terms of size and percentage of marketing spend. The latest CMO Survey puts social media spend at around 11% of the marketing budget. In 1984 it was not unusual for TV to account for 70% of marketing spend, press around 20% and the remaining 10% on outdoor/other.

The internet was a catalyst for change but a much bigger factor was the failure of marketing to quantify return on investment effectively. The same is about to happen with social media as companies struggle to effectively quantify return on investment. More “likes” doesn’t necessarily mean more sales just as in my day “improvement in brand recall” didn’t necessarily result in more sales either. The latest CMO survey showed that 44% of respondents through social media contributed nothing to company performance!

This matters because it erodes the value companies place on marketing expertise. The sad truth of the matter is that my salary as an Account Manager at Leo Burnett in 1984 was exactly the same amount of money that an Account Manager at an advertising agency would be earning today.

Other services professionals such as lawyers, accountants, consultants, doctors, and teachers to name just a few are about to suffer the same fate as Marketing. Technologies such as AI, analytics and increasingly sophisticated automation will remove increasing amounts of value that the human brain combined with experience currently provides. Increasingly professional services will become more administrative and decreasingly “added value”. It saddens me to see how marketing skills I have spent a lifetime building are seen to be of less value than the day I started out 24 years ago. If you are starting out in a professional services role my recommendation is to do it for love because it won’t be for the money 10 years from now.