This recent post by Steve Rubel is just the latest account of the blurring of traditional lines between advertising agencies, consulting firms, PR agencies, design shops and virtually any other organization involved in digital media and content. Steve’s post suggests we may have put the old media companies out to pasture too soon, since according to Booz Allen they are gradually beginning to offer some of the services and talents traditionally offered by ad agencies – such as media buying and even “idea generation”…what George Bush might call strategery. Witness another example in my own little world from the past week. Part of my new gig is rebuilding my company’s intranet, so I’m looking for everything from strategic counsel to design help and social media expertise (we’ll be including a blog and collaboration tools.) Where to go for help? Well, it could include one or all of the following: big PR agency, intranet design firm, local production house, social media boutique in a PR agency, local ad agency, event marketing agency, big HR consulting firm, small IT consulting firm, internal communications agency…and assorted freelancers and one-trick ponies. Everybody is encroaching into everybody’s else turf. Of course, not all of these attempts at diversification are credible or robust, but they definitely define a real trend. So… who will I get help from? I’m still not sure, but one thing I’ve learned is that people who have real chops in social media are few and far between, so in that case I’ll go to the team I used in a previous life that has actually built blogs and gone through the online wars. In this fast moving world, there is still no substitute for expertise and experience.

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