Since this is blog from a Northerner, living in the North, I thought it might be worth looking at things from perspective for a change. If it's relevant to where you work, then great (I suspect it might).
Let's roll back to the so called golden age of advertising first - the late 70's and 1980's. Agencies got to make lots of big expensive advertising campaigns, lots of TV lots of glossy print lovely. This was true outside of London...some big names, big campaigns lots of telly out here too. It must have been brilliant. Agencies got away with murder, clients were still getting used to emotional brand communication, you could talk to loads of people at once on ITV and make people buy stuff just by entertaining them.
But then got a bit sticky, clients got wise to the flashy sell and lovely lunches and began demanding proof of return on investment. They wanted accountability and ad agencies got found out. They saw their place at the top table at become less secure. London agencies held on, but regional agencies saw only the very best, the very rigorous hold on to significant ad spend.
So they diversified. They became very good at DM, design and other stuff - they got good at being integrated because they had no choice.
Then along came digital. It turned the industry up side down. Up sprang the digital specialists. They spouted jargon in a manner much worse than any ad exec, they were technically brilliant, but no one really knew what they did, perhaps not even them. They made things look very pretty, they even managed to appear accountable with instant, real time measurement....and yet........
...we come to the present day. Old fashioned agencies are getting okay at digital too, they have no choice. But they two advantages over digital specialists, based on my experience anyway.
Firstly, they know where different media and tactics fit in to the overall picture. They're good at integrating things together in a way that all but the best London shops are not. Digital agencies are good at digital. Digital is the the answer no matter what the question.
Secondly, they don't have planners, or people that can think strategically. Some of the most technically brilliant digital practitioners I've met (technically) don't know WHY they're making stuff, they don't care too much about matching experience to consumer needs, they don't go through the rigour of role for communications. In short, they don't do planning, if you're lucky, they do tactics. They don't own the brand conversation.
In the recent past, this didn't matter, the jargon and technical advancement glossed over this. But like ad agencies in the 90's and beyond, everyone's getting wise. Soon, they're going to have to be accountable, and then they're in trouble.
Many creative agencies don't do artwork, most outside of London don't have a TV department. Clients have become good at taking some thinking, concepts or whatever and getting made direct, or even in house. The making isn't that hard once we all get the basic principles. It's the thinking and creativity that's hard.
I wonder if, like creative agencies, their will be a bit of cull, a lot of consolidation and a big bubble bursting as digital agencies learn to be accountable. I think that means they need planners (amongst other things) people that don't have to know how stuff gets made in minute detail, but they know how to find out what it's for and what it needs to do.
When I was suit, I used to have know lots about print, I needed to know what grading in TV was, now I don't, just as I don't need to know what Ruby on Rails actually is. Making stuff well matters, but I suggest knowing why you're making and measuring it's success matters even more.