Back-shop operations, the tasks that ushered in computers at many agencies, remain the most popular functions. Word processing is No. 1: 100% of agencies with computers do it. Spreadsheets, revenue/income analysis, customer billing and client record keeping follow, with 89% to 94% each.
Media buying (69% of agencies) and trafficking (63%) are also widely done on computers, as are typesetting (64%) and comps and layouts (62%).
And the information boom has made strong inroads as well. Electronic information sources are available at a solid 62% of the shops. Market analysis is done by computer at 60% of the agencies; client-industry tracking is done at 59% of the shops; customer database accessing is done by 54%; and new-business prospect identification is done by 52%.
One-third of the agencies send messages on electronic mail. Some 27% are using their computers to create finished art, and a handful – 2% to 3% – are exploring the frontiers of graphics, desktop publishing and presentations and slides.
The end result is finding agencies becoming, literally, greater than the sum of their human parts. “The scales are being tipped,” says Beason. “With the competitive edge of having access to information, smaller agencies can compete with larger agencies. Agencies of all sizes can compete on the same…