The year so far has been quite a journey for everyone, brands and agencies included, and it’s hard to predict what twists and turns wait around the corner.
Yet like all journeys, access to information can smooth the road ahead. A map used to be the traveler’s only source of knowledge—and even that was often out of date. In contrast, today’s advanced technologies provide real-time data that allows for more nimble and informed decision-making.
To proactively navigate the changing marketing landscape with the same foresight and agility, brands and agencies also need to adopt an insight-driven approach, moving beyond classic marketing services and into data preparation and management. At a time when marketers are fighting to prove the value of their campaigns and every penny spent is under scrutiny, brands and agencies must become valuable travel companions, collaborating on automated real-time insight to find the best route forward.
Accomplishing this requires a new approach—an approach where marketing insights are delivered proactively, an approach we call augmented analytics.
Be forward-looking with augmented analytics
Outdated, reactive data analysis techniques such as manual exploration of reports and dashboards are time-consuming and require a specialist’s skills. More importantly, they risk missing valuable patterns and data insights that have a significant impact on immediate and future marketing performance.
Instead, brands and agencies need to embrace in-the-moment and forward-looking, artificial intelligence-powered data analysis techniques, exemplified by augmented analytics, to automatically detect emerging trends and anomalies, deliver granular insights and increase marketing agility through proactive decision-making.
With augmented analytics, marketers can measure the effectiveness of campaigns and improve them as the results come in. This allows CMOs seeking efficiency and optimization to know what works and what doesn’t. Consideration of the road ahead is no longer pure speculation; it is an insightful and informed process where questions are answered before they are even asked, and real-time direction changes are driven by new opportunities for campaign optimization.
Putting augmented analytics to work
Augmented analytics promotes marketing agility in a number of ways. First, it can be used to detect hidden anomalies or outliers across multiple data sources and metrics before they result in performance loss or budget drain. Second, it allows marketers to identify and quickly adapt to emerging trends that might impact their businesses, such as market changes or unexpected user behaviors. Next, it enables ongoing segment analysis so marketers can highlight under- or over-performers and continually refine targeting strategies.
Finally, it allows brands and agencies to constantly revise their budget allocation using forecasting techniques to help them stay on track, assign budget to the most effective channels and achieve better performance. Augmented analytics is about more than just adopting the latest technologies; it is about integrating and harmonizing data, and embedding it into all aspects of a business to be truly insight-driven.
Shifting dynamics of brands and agencies
In the past, agencies largely controlled a brand’s marketing journey, but that dynamic has changed and evolved over the years. The advent of digital advertising, which is expected to surpass traditional media this year, and the rise of programmatic trading have both played their parts. Whenever a brand puts its media business up for review, part of the reason is an increased focus on online marketing, digital technology and data analytics.
Brands are taking greater control and ownership of their buying and data strategies, with 84 percent of major multinationals using an in-house brand trading desk or hybrid managed-service model, up from 21 percent in 2016, according to the World Federation of Advertisers, or WFA. Brands are also taking a greater interest in AI and how it can increase efficiency and optimize campaigns.
But brands cannot accomplish everything alone. External partners are essential to their capabilities and capacity. As a result, agencies are inevitably having to rethink their approach and enhance their services with AI-driven data management and analytics capabilities to avoid falling behind the curve. Agencies need to drastically expand their offerings to stay not just current but one step ahead. Intelligent insight-driven approaches, as embodied by augmented analytics, deliver the tools they need to remain relevant and competitive.
As long as agencies move quickly and embrace the right solutions and technologies to expand their offerings, the dynamic will shift once again over the coming years, and brands will increasingly lean on agencies for advanced analytics support as part of more collaborative partnerships.
And so the journey goes on.