Compared to marketers, agencies are both planning to spend more on technology and less satisfied with their current technology, our research in partnership with Econsultancy shows.
In September, we released the report Dream vs Reality: The State of Consumer-First and Omnichannel Marketing, based on a global survey of more than 400 digital marketing professionals. Seventeen percent of the respondents were from agencies involved with media planning and buying.
The findings show a chasm between agencies and marketers on several fronts, including point solutions, the benefits of DSPs and perceived ad efficiency.
Agencies less satisfied with tech
Most marketers and agencies are spending more on tech this year, but agencies are significantly less sanguine than their marketer peers. For instance, while 63% of advertisers believe that advertising and marketing technologies are insufficiently integrated, 96% of agencies and technology providers believe that to be the case.
It’s possible that agencies have higher standards than marketers in this regard. When asked which layers of their marketing stack are most integrated and where they are planning to integrate in the future, 40% of advertisers said marketing technology followed by data management. Agencies agreed with those two options in lower proportions, but a quarter of agency respondents answered, “None of the above.” Only 10% of agencies saw their clients’ earned media technology as integrated versus 25% for advertisers.
The GDPR affects agencies less
The GDPR, the sweeping data privacy regulations the EU put into place this year, is having “some impact” on marketing practices for 82% of advertisers and 86% of agencies, according to the report. But marketers were nearly twice as likely as agencies and adtech vendors (39% to 20%) to say GDPR had a “strong impact” on them.
Ad efficiency and objectives
The other big differences between how advertisers and agencies responded to the survey were related to ad efficiency and ad objectives.
Ad efficiency was cited as a top priority for 59% of advertisers and 76% of agencies. Meanwhile, advertisers gave similar weight to the importance of customer acquisition (56%), brand awareness (54%) and revenue growth (54%). But agencies and technology providers leaned towards the increased revenues (79%) and new customers (73%) as the overriding considerations.
For both agencies and advertisers, the report exposed a yawning gap between tech’s promise and its reality. Surmounting that gap means not only changing practices, but changing attitudes as well and eradicating the notion of seeing consumers as a means to an end. There is an opportunity now for agencies and marketers to unite the industry around new standards and to look at a new way to create advertising that respects the consumer and which consumers will love rather than merely tolerate. Marketers, agencies and tech providers can work together to achieve this vision.