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Marketers look beyond agencies to exploit data and digital

Going beyond traditional advertising agency base, marketers are now looking for domain experts to driver marketing performance and handle exploding data, digital migration, channel fragmentation and a more diverse, multi-cultural consumer base, according to a CMO Council report.

The report suggests that as budgets increase, to fund digital marketing campaigns and more personalised customer engagement, marketers now need additional expertise in data analytics, content creation and channel proliferation to improve ROI.

The report highlightes that there’s a new focus on finding high-performance marketing partners with specialised knowledge and business acumen. About 83 per cent marketers are looking for unique skill sets and specialised capabilities not found in most ad agencies or media buying firms.

Only a few traditional holding companies, advertising firms or media agencies made to the list of who marketers consider to be part of their marketing performance partner group. Instead the solution providers, who were once only seen as sources to enable technology and automation platforms, are know becoming the go-to sources for marketers.

The report also highlights that only 30 per cent marketers feel they are managing the data explosion well. Only 29 per cent feel that they are analysing data well to create personalised experiences. Less than 40 per cent feel they are overcoming financial restraint and demonstrating ROI well.

While 60 per cent of survey respondents are spending more than USD 10 million annually on media buys, only five per cent of participants say they are much more confident in their media or agency partner’s performance. In fact, marketers are looking to apply far more stringent and taxing ROI thresholds on their media and agency partners to maximise return. One marketing leader shared that as digital evolves, they must ensure that return on investment and return on advertising investment are held to higher standards.

“What this brings to the surface is an even more heightened need to get the highest levels of performance and output—not just from the marketing organisation, but also from the external agencies and marketing performance partners employed by the organisation. CMOs are frustrated by a lack of visibility into partner performance and are questioning everything from budgets to the realities of click fraud and paybacks,” explained Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council.

“Marketing is at a crossroads, and now is the time for agency partners to work even harder to meet the expectation for performance and creativity. This has created an interesting phenomenon of global marketers placing their old agency accounts up for review—calling everything from performance to contract structure into question. Marketers recognise that the world has changed, and they’re looking for partners who can unlock the new communications landscape in all its manifestations while being responsible, professional business partners. Now is the time for agency partners to give marketers exactly what they want…and what the customer needs,” said Nick Manning, Chief Strategy Officer for Ebiquity in the report.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.