A brand new survey conducted by Strata, a market and media research firm polled 100 advertising agency heads in the last quarter of 2012 asking them for their views on the digital media landscape. Not surprisingly the majority reported they are using digital communications within their media mix on an ever-increasing basis.

What might come as a slight surprise is the growth of digital. Most of the respondents suggested that digital media may eclipse traditional advertising in the near future, and close to one-third of respondents stated they would spend more on digital communications within the next three years.

Very interestingly, the survey reported that spot TV and spot radio continues to decline and that 40% fewer clients are interested in spot TV advertising, and 32% are less interested in spot radio. Also, print continues its decline with these agencies reporting 60% of their advertisers are less interested in print advertising than just one year ago.

What’s causing this trending? Social media, of course. It is at the heart of the rapid transition from print to relevant digital marketing and the absolute demand by advertisers for a strong Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI) from their advertising agencies. This has been brewing for quite some time, but it seems that we are about to reach a tipping point, and once we do, there will be no going back.

How will the advances of digital communications impact middle market organizations, those without millions of dollars to spend on spot TV or spot radio?

It’s likely that the strategies and tools of social media will become the most important skill for those seeking to grow their business and social media will no longer be considered something only techie or consumer businesses use. In fact, if this data holds up even 50% of its projections, the success of brand marketing will be measured by the effectiveness of an organization’s social media platforms and direct client conversations they establish.

Those marketers that have the ability to build and sustain a growing market share using social media will be the best prepared to compete in the new digital marketplace. It’s likely that at the center of all of these decisions will be the strategic recommendations for the most effective ways to communicate in this newly minted digital age. That’s one thing that won’t change: the need for a powerful and innovative strategy that differentiates a marketer from its competition.