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Navigating data: The evolving brand-agency relationship

02 Dec 2019  |  Ben Murphy 
Navigating data: The evolving brand-agency relationship

Agencies and brands will need to unite in their data journey to reveal their full potential, writes Ben Murphy

As the year draws to a close, marketers are reflecting on the successes of 2019 and strategising for the new year where data will continue to play a crucial role. October marked the 25th anniversary of the first banner ad - the birth of digital marketing. Since then, big data and advancements in adtech have revolutionised the marketing function and the way agencies and brands work together -  so where is their relationship headed as we approach 2020?

From more accurate reporting to smarter campaign optimisation, digital marketers are scrambling to keep pace with the possibilities that data and technology open up - agencies and brands will need to unite in their data journey to reveal their full potential.

Demystify data to boost campaign results

CMOs are under pressure to maximise campaign results and unlock the value that the big data era presents. While Q3 saw UK marketing budgets cut for the first time in seven years, many marketers are reallocating their budgets to digital. In this context, CMOs must be even smarter in their quest for campaign efficiency and marketing spend optimisation in 2020.

The opportunities presented by data are so vast that marketers are in some ways spoilt for choice - but this can be extremely daunting. Should they focus their efforts on creative optimisation, more intelligent personalisation for different audiences or reacting in real-time to internet trends and audience shifts?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a successful data-strategy for digital marketing. That’s why working with an agency partner that can help harness data properly is priceless.

Revamp reporting: moving beyond averages

Driving performance is no longer enough, agencies are asked to explain why their campaigns have been successful to their clients. By gathering insights from campaign activity data, agencies can prove the real impact of their work and have strategic conversations with their clients.

Having an analytical approach will enable agencies to form long-term partnerships with brands and become a consultative and indispensable extension to their clients’ marketing teams.

Rather than working on averages, data facilitates a deep-dive into individual experiences with their clients’ brands. Take ad frequency for example, knowing that a campaign has been delivered on an average frequency of five times per user does not tell us much.

If we consider three individual experiences, two people could have seen the ad just once each and the third may have been exposed to it eight times.

Therefore the average frequency for the campaign so far would still be five, even though none of the individuals have seen the ad the desired number of times. Using the right tools and data, marketers can now access more accurate reporting to inform current and future campaigns.

Get the most out of partnerships

Agencies can use their multi-industry view and data skills to help brands spot and react to real-time audience shifts as well as unveiling longer term trends.

To maximise the value of data partnerships, marketers should consider how insights can inform the entire campaign - right from planning and real-time campaign optimisation through to reporting and informing future strategy.

In my experience, the most successful data-led campaigns are facilitated by close working relationships between brands and their various partners. The best results occur when specialist agencies understand the intricacies of their clients’ campaign and work collaboratively with their clients towards a clearly defined end-goal.

Ultimately, the most effective digital advertising is rooted in the individual’s experience. Therefore, to be successful this will mean reacting to shifting consumer trends - from an increasing desire to buy from brands that are aligned with their values to concerns over balancing data privacy and personalisation.

As we head into 2020, the landscape looks set to become more complex - to thrive in this context agencies and brands must unite to unlock data’s true potential.


Ben Murphy is UK MD at Quantcast

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09 Dec 2019 

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