Back in the day, analytics were something that agencies shied away from.

Agencies didn’t like testing their creative work because they loved and lived and died by their creative.

And marketers put very little pressure on their agency counterparts to prove out the value of what they were doing.

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This was even true at the outset of the digital age.  Digital agencies were all about creating cool, “out there” work in the digital space.  The more creative, the better. There was very little pressure put on agencies to validate the moves they made across various digital platforms.

Not so much anymore – and it’s only going to get “worse” for agencies.

In our most recent New Year Outlook Survey, marketers and agencies talked up the growing importance of developing analytical capabilities within the four walls of an agency.

83% of agencies surveyed stated that they believed the demand for data/analytical capabilities would grow as we moved into 2016.  Nobody thought it would decrease in importance, and only 17% thought it would remain the same.

This 17% must be the agencies stuck in time.

Today, many agencies are feeling the pressure.

And they should, because it’s real.

73% of marketers in our survey stated that it will be important/very important for an agency to have strong data/analytical capabilities if the agency is to have any chance of winning their business.

Only 8% said it was not important.

So what does this all mean for you, the agency?

Left brain, right brain.  Both are serious needs marketers have of their agency partners.  We know from this same survey, that creative is one of the top things that marketers look for from their agency.  This will not go away and will likely never diminish in its importance.

But what is..and will continue to change is the need for data and analytics expertise.

Whether developing the capabilities of current staff or adding the right expertise from outside resources, analytical ability could become a significantly differentiating factor in the near future – and may become a cost of entry for all agencies going forward.

 

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Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.