Much buzz has been made recently about brand marketers taking more control of their technology investments. CMOs will control more technology budget than CIOs by next year, and they are solidly getting more hands-on keyboard with programmatic. But there’s another group getting deeper into technology to build their own systems and processes: the agencies. Technology really complements what an agency does well for their brands and can ease solving brands’ objectives.
In July, I spoke to PubMatic about the future of the brand, agency and tech provider relationship and how it’s an important time for tech providers and agencies to join forces to mould the latter’s bespoke solutions for analytics and media buying tools within the agency. Here is why and how agencies are more heavily investing in technology than ever before.
Even though the agency’s wheelhouse remains helping clients with their media strategies, it has also become crucial to delve further into the technology that can better enable client outcomes. Why? Because agencies’ brand clients do not have the resources to become experts in the technology. They rely on agencies for both strategic and technological acumen to reach consumers across any device or any channel. Thus, there are a number of benefits for agencies moving to better technology tools, such as ability to:
- Centralise platforms instead of having to go through many disparate ones. It’s about having a centralised technology foundation from which agencies can build and also integrate other solutions.
- Leverage the wide variety of assets that agencies have from a media, data and technology standpoint.
- Integrate the brand clients’ various assets and technology partners in an expedited manner to demonstrate business outcomes from marketing investment.
- Increase efficiency and scale of marketing efforts.
- Build stronger teams in the agency’s trading and data organisations who are well-versed in programmatic and can translate business goals into marketing execution.
As referenced by my colleague Tom in another blog post, certain tech partners have the capabilities to build bespoke products to solve for specific, nuanced agency or client needs. These solutions serve as a complement to the great work agencies already do with their clients and cover a range of areas including:
- Supply access: Partnering with technology to create a unique market with exclusive access to top-quality inventory.
- Audience management: A proprietary approach to leveraging first-party and third-party data management.
- Integrated programmatic practice: An innovative software solution to solve for silos in agency operations.
- Centralised attribution: Agencies are best-situated to own and manage attribution as they own the whole media buying plan. As omnichannel media buying increases, agencies can package attribution solutions and consult clients on the best way to apply the technology to their marketing investments.
- Programmatic creative strategy: As demands from clients have changed and technology continues to evolve, agencies, in their essence as creative powerhouses, can and should be the ones that own and come up with strategy for programmatic creative.
Transparency, openness and control
For agencies to be able to leverage technology to build their own unique offerings, they need three things in their core technology partner: transparency, openness and control:
- Transparency: Knowledge into what’s happening in the media-buying process.
- Openness: The ability to customise the technology stack, through APIs and seamless integrations, to create bespoke solutions for brand clients.
- Control: Ability to oversee and refine the outcomes of marketing efforts in a way that maps them back to business goals.
Stay tuned for our next post on how agencies can use education to complement their value prop to brand clients.