By Tom Hirons, President & CEO
Where do we find the balance between integration and specialization? Some view this as a continuum with integration at one extreme and specialization at the other. Let me argue instead for viewing integration as a specialization.
Specialization implies expertise. And, in this industry, deep expertise is needed. Required core competencies extend beyond the categories of advertising and public relations to expertise by professional specialty as well as by industry category.
Yet, the specialization most in demand is the ability to integrate specialists and achieve results across industries.
Integration is becoming increasingly essential. When the term was first coined in the late 80s, it referred to the alignment of advertising, public relations and other communications disciplines. With the tsunami of digital, integration is critical.
Euphemisms abound. Jack of all trades, master of none has outlived its usefulness. Our most effective integrators are masters of at least one discipline AND masters of integration.
So the sweet spot is not found between the two extremes, it is earned through a core competency and a dedication to understanding, embracing and incorporating other core competencies in concert.
It is not a question of what you outsource and what you perform in house (though that may impact efficiency). It will never be a question of what you, alone, can do. Our most potent and highest performing professionals will always be those who bring real value to the table but also understand who else should be at the table and how and when to most effectively orchestrate true integration.
Like music, it is both art and science. And, like music, it is very sweet when you get it right.