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Advertising Agencies Must Evolve or Die

Jonathan Rolley
Jonathan Rolley Posted on Mar 15, 2016, 7:03:55 PM

The advertising agencies of the past had it too easy: they only had to ensure their messages were disseminated along the media channels – print and broadcasting – consumed by their target audiences. They had no real concern for what consumers did with those messages or whether they were even given any attention.

'Evolve' and 'Die' written on chalkboard with empty tick boxes beside the words

Huge ad spend was justified by widespread brand exposure, supposedly a precursor to brand loyalty, and an agency's success was determined by how many awards it won. Things were good in agency land: they got to spend huge sums punting their creative offerings to the public, and the awards piled up. But then the wheels fell off.

Consumers were so heavily bombarded with untargeted marketing messages that they started to shut out the noise. This should not have come as a surprise; we have only so much attention to give our environment, and when the messages become too much, we have to prioritise. When was the last time you paid close attention to a pop-up ad or clicked on a banner? These are the remnants of that old-school approach to traditional advertising, a hangover that some advertising agencies just can't seem to shake.

To evolve, advertising agencies have to become accountable.

To survive, the modern advertising agency will have to do two things: take a targeted approach to advertising and be accountable – show that they are delivering real ROI. It's not enough to say, 'Look how many people we've exposed to your brand.' Vanity metrics no longer impress. Marketing agencies now have to show how their efforts and ad spend have helped to meet marketing goals. Welcome to the age of data analytics.

But why do brands demand transparency? Two reasons: one, they know that it's possible and want to see where their money is going, and two, if they don't ensure the greatest ROI from their advertising, they'll only be wasting money that could be spent on another more important activity, like research and development. It's hard to compete with competitors that can do what you do more cheaply, and there is an ever-increasing demand for advertising and marketing strategies that are more efficient and cost-effective.

 

Your marketing mix must include performance optimised advertising.

If it can be measured, it can be managed, and if it can be managed, it can be optimised. There are many digital tools available to the modern marketer, and they can all be analysed and optimised. But the first step is to set advertising goals. Decide: do you want to build brand awareness, convert lead generation, prompt sales or inspire word of mouth? These will determine the metrics you use to analyse your success. That's step number three, though. First, make your messages more targeted. Segment your audience into even smaller groups based on their interests and demographics. Figure out what the best message, channel and time is for each of these. Really get to know these groups; such knowledge will allow you to derive insights from the data and tweak your messages for greater effect.

Once you know your goals and have chosen a channel and message, you can figure out which metrics to measure for. There is no point in watching click-through rates if you are interested in how many sales can be attributed to a particular piece of content. Only pay attention to those that matter and then use your in-depth understanding of your audience to make sense of the data analytics. Run simultaneous TV ads and use A/B testing to determine which was better. Fine-tune your marketing strategy according to what you have learned and repeat the data analytics. A thorough analysis should tell you what you have to make changes to.

Traditional media, like TV, should also be measured for ROI.

Most marketers know that traditional advertising channels, like broadcasting, just doesn't offer the same level of metrics that are available to those who work in digital marketing, but that doesn't mean that your TV advertising campaign should lack data analytics. Fuzzy logic enables marketers utilising traditional advertising to make the most of incomplete or subjective information by giving its context. When this data is filtered through a process grounded in observation and sound reasoning, it provides analysis as good as any produced by online metrics. The key to this approach is to have an in-depth understanding of your target audiences. It is this knowledge that enables marketers to derive insights from their seemingly limited data.

If you are interested in seeing how your TV advertising campaigns are doing, consider our free TV analytics trial. Our platform can provide you with the data-driven insights your digital and traditional advertising strategies need to deliver greater ROI.

FREE Performance TV Assessment

Image credit: Kimberly Townsend Palmer

Jonathan Rolley
This post was Written by Jonathan Rolley

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