I have a ten year old daughter that is deathly afraid of having a conversation with anyone outside of her small group of friends. Even within her own friends I usually find them in her room playing a game on their iPads – never speaking with each other but “communicating” through the game – while they sit side by side!
I play on two soccer teams where most of the players are under the age of thirty-five. You can’t call them by phone – they won’t pick up. And they definitely won’t reply to an email. But text them and they will respond immediately!
I have a colleague at work that manages six figure SEM campaigns for national clients that he has never met (except of course, through Skype).
Even in my own business activities, we used to take proofs to our clients and talk with them about the options and then have them sign off (with a pen) in person. Nowadays, we download the proof to an FTP site and get an email from them approving the creative.
It seems that as systems progress, we have less of a need to interact with the people we do business with.
Yet one of the great joys of working in advertising (and the reason I got into the business) was the opportunity to work with a wide array of people from varying industries and disciplines.
There is something wonderful about getting to know a client, getting to understand their business, and then working through an idea session with them to address their needs. The process can be both exciting and energizing.
Good ideas and great creative solutions come from not only knowing the client’s needs, but also from understanding the client’s style and personality. And that can only come from getting to know them.
While I don’t deny new technologies have made our business more efficient and more cost-effective for clients, I hope that this growth in technology does not completely eliminate the need for the client and agency to truly “see” each other. That would rip the heart out of what we do in this industry – and it would make it a much less interesting/enjoyable career.