With the advertising industry growing at a rapid rate –– particularly all things digital – it probably comes as no surprise that many advertisers are experiencing what is probably best described as ‘growing pains.’ A recent survey found that four in 10 CMOs feel “unprepared” to meet modern campaign objectives. An even greater percentage (7 of 10) said they fully expect a dramatic overhaul in corporate marketing within the next five years. We hear this sentiment from many of our customers as well as they work tirelessly to revamp processes and realign strategies around multi-channel opportunities designed to drive higher revenues and improve efficiency.
What’s sometimes lost in this discussion is the role of the agency and analytics partner. For example, according to the same survey only 44 percent of more than 400 respondents in 10 countries said agency partners were helping transform the marketing organization. Operational inefficiencies were also cited as a hindrance to performance. With marketers being asked to do more than ever before, it’s clear that the role of agency and analytics partners has shifted. As businesses look to fundamentally shift the way they approach marketing, it’s no longer enough for vendors to simply sell products or services. The ability to understand and collaborate to solve business challenges is now the ‘value add’ that separates commodity suppliers from strategic assets.
Federated Media’s John Battelle wrote about this dynamic in Ad Age reflecting on his experience at this year’s IAB leadership meeting:
I was amazed to see how segmented our industry had become — the ad-tech guys were literally in one corner of the room, and the brand folks were in another. As I bounced between them (my company has businesses in both camps), I heard an awful lot of disparaging words directed toward “the other side.”
But we cannot be an industry of two sides. We are one industry, united by the desire to bring the most relevant and valuable information to our customers — the consumer. It’s time we started acting that way.
Those of us working in the ad ecosystem have the opportunity top talent in the business, including leading media companies, publishers, DMPs and more. Part of what makes these relationships so successful is the effort that goes into fostering a collaborative environment in which our mutual clients’ business problems is the focus, not arbitrary divisions of labor. Just as attribution models rely on integrating data from a variety of sources in order to analyze campaign effectiveness, our partners want as much insight as possible about performance so they can provide the maximum value to customers. While we may not always agree (that’s where interpretation and intuition will forever play a role), being focused on the right outcomes ensures clients’ best interests remain the one and only motivation.
While competition across the ad industry (both for audiences’ attention and for business) is surely at an all-time high (a good thing), this isn’t a zero-sum game. Increasingly, marketers need their partners to work as one in order to achieve the lofty goals they’ve set for themselves. To do any less would be failing to deliver on our end of the agreement.
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