It’s been a while since I last wrote about the death of the microsite, but this week there’s been some comment worth noting on the subject. Firstly Martin Kelley on O'Reilly Broadcast:

With the rise of the real-time update streams being popularized by Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed, users are becoming accustomed to a constantly-changing flow of pictures, videos and new snippets. Even actively-maintained websites seem locked in languid stupor in comparison.

This will change company's interactions with customers, who will start to expect and then demand real-time interaction [...] The style will shift from slickly-produced mass marketing to a one-on-one responsive back and forth. Smart marketers will think less in terms of selling and more in terms of relationship building.

And then a nice article from Brian Morrissey in Adweek, with this killer quote:

Clients want more of an emphasis on igniting conversation and less on the rich, textured sites that have typically accompanied their campaigns. The goal, as EVB CEO Daniel Stein put it, is to "stop building $1 million microsites that attract [only] 10,000 visitors."

Advising a client to skip a $200,000 microsite in favour of a free Facebook page or social network built on Ning for $25 per month might be the right move, but it begs the question of whether the agency can make money.

Well, the simple answer is that digital agencies with teams of designers and flash developers to pay have some serious restructuring to do, assuming they even realise that restructuring is needed (after all, they are the ones who advised their clients to build the flash microsites in the first place).

However, those of us whose agencies are built from the ground up to focus on conversations are probably in a much better position to both give their clients the right advice and to profit from it...

Update: More from Steve Rubel in Ad Age:

Digital marketing is still wired for the destination web era. To succeed going forward, we have to change our thinking. "Earned media" through direct public engagement in the venues where our consumers spend time will become the only way to truly influence a behavior change. The greatest advantages will go to the first movers who embrace this shift.