What: More than 80 percent of advertisers currently use data to help them manage agency relationships, especially in the area of managing media budgets according to the new survey “Using Data to Manage Agency Relationships: What’s Important to Marketers,” from the ANA (Association of National Advertisers).
Why it matters: Data is most important and most heavily used in managing media and billing/budgets, and least important and least used in the areas of creative and production.
More than 80 percent of advertisers currently use data to help them manage agency relationships and they expect the use of such data will grow because of the overwhelmingly positive results they have achieved, especially in the area of managing media budgets, according the new survey “Using Data to Manage Agency Relationships: What’s Important to Marketers,” from the ANA (Association of National Advertisers).
The survey explored the use of data in broad categories of the client/agency relationship, including agency performance evaluations, tracking of agency hours, copy/creative testing, production costs, and media efficiencies/budgets. “Data helps build better relationships between the client and agency, helping both parties focus on outcomes,” said ANA Group EVP Bill Duggan. “And at a time where there are transparency issues in the industry, the use of data enhances trust.”
- Data is frequently used for managing agency relationships, with 80 percent of respondents indicating that they “often or always” use data to manage agency relationships.
- Use of data to manage agency relationships is increasing, with 84 percent of respondents seeing it growing in their organization and none seeing usage declining.
- Use of data for managing agency relationships delivers strong outcomes:
- 82 percent of respondents saw it contributing to better overall client/agency relationships.
- 90 percent saw it improving agency efficiencies.
- 78 percent saw it improving internal efficiencies at the client’s organization.
- Data is most important and most heavily used in managing media and billing/budgets, and least important and least used in the areas of creative and production.
- Among the 37 performance metrics evaluated in this survey, media-related metrics account for seven of the 10 highest-rated metrics for importance.
- The specific media-related metrics that rated highest were efficiency of media buys, delivery of total campaign audience goals, and media quality assessment.
“Data enhances the conversations between clients and agencies, providing a solid foundation for mutual collaboration,” said Richard Benyon, CEO of Decideware. “As the legendary statistician W. Edwards Deming once said, ‘Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.’”
- Data Should Be Seen as a “Force for Good” in Client/Agency Relationships: The widespread and increasing use of data to help manage agency relationships is leading to more informed decision-making and improved efficiencies at both clients and agencies. Furthermore, the increased use of data is improving transparency and accountability.
- Data Use in Media Is Critical: Data in media is the most important and most utilized of any category. With media transparency currently a major issue in the industry, the ANA encourages advertisers to assume greater internal stewardship of their media investments and to set up metrics to track performance.
- Data in Creative Warrants More Attention: Clients should pay more attention to the processes for briefing and copy approvals, and use data to track progress, as the implications of not doing so include increased rework and potentially increased agency fees. Specific suggestions include tracking the number of rounds of revision that work undergoes prior to final approval, the average length of time that each approval step takes, and even “soft” metrics like the quality of the brief.
- Clients Should Leverage Data to Improve Their Internal Efficiencies: Seventy-eight percent of respondents work at companies whose use of data for managing agency relationships helps improve internal efficiencies at the client. Meanwhile, 90 percent work at companies whose use of data for managing agency relationships helps improve agency efficiencies. Certainly, both numbers are high, yet the double-digit gap between the two warrants consideration and suggests that there may be a potential opportunity for clients to further improve their internal efficiencies and processes.
Data in media is the most important and most utilized of any category.
In total, 92 client-side marketers were represented in the survey. Of those, 61 percent were “senior marketers” (director level and above) and 39 percent were “junior marketers” (manager level and below). On average, respondents have 18.3 years of experience in marketing/advertising. Fifty-three percent of respondents work at organizations which have an annual U.S. media budget of $100 million or more, while 47 percent work at organizations which have an annual U.S. media budget of less than $100 million. Those organizations are primarily B-to-C for 42 percent of respondents, primarily B-to-B for 13 percent, and equally B-to-C/B-to-B for the remainder.