Advertising agents should change tack in era of Big Data

Digital advertising opens a new front for agencies to gather data, target and engage potential customers. file photo | nmg
Digital advertising opens a new front for agencies to gather data, target and engage potential customers. file photo | nmg 

The annual advertising report always makes for good reading. Here brands are listed by how much they splurged on media, to either claim or defend mindshare and move product. The numbers are in the billions and a handful of agencies have tapped into this with great returns, some even listing.

Even as consumers come online and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google and the others democratise access to audiences who are increasingly getting online and leaving their footprints thereon, many local agencies remain stuck on the hunt for the big spenders, often to comical corporate shenanigans and musical chairs, missing the forest for the trees.

The opportunity here is twofold.

The first lies in the creation of new touchpoints and technologies that complement traditional channels and allow agencies to own more of the pipeline while locking down detailed potential customer (know your customer) that would serve to enrich campaigns for clients.

The client of a fast moving consumer goods pushing soft drinks is after all the same one looking to buy bread. This client metadata should be at the fingertips of local agencies riding off their custom toolkits. Instead, we see some opting to buy into big ticket data management platforms, empowering third parties with the insights that then get sold back to them at an additional premium.

The second comes in the expanding of the service portfolio to small and medium sized businesses who would be unprofitable under the current ways of work. Investing in technology and strategic thinking will yield tremendous benefits to any agency that takes the plunge and also buffer the business from the tectonics and pressure of having one or two big clients that can make or break the business.

For every large enterprise there is probably 500 small and medium-sized businesses that would be less fussy and more profitable, were they to be presented with self-service solutions based on metrics that have been digested for easy consumption and do not break bank. 

Agencies should be serious about getting into the business of data, investing heavily in the creation of custom tools – software and hardware, which tap into local nuances and look to engage at population scale.