Traditional Ad Agencies Need to Evolve

Data is now the driving force behind creative.

One of our mantras and perhaps the most important mantra driving our direction is this: marketing has become the business of technology.

A data-led strategy is key. Data and research are now major factors in decision making for our clients. The big players in this field have traditionally been consulting firms – think Deloitte, Accenture or Epsilon. Now, these firms are creating agency wings by purchasing other creative and/or digital agencies to bolster their resources. Thankfully, we at Xivic are ahead of the fold, with data scientists and analysts already on our roster.

In order to keep up with the bigger firms, traditional ad agencies DO need to respond to the consulting firms if they want to compete, and we’ve put together a few pointers on how to stay above water.


1) Bring your inner consultant and creative to light. Embrace them both.

Gone are the days of creative agencies hiring consultants once in a while to do some research before a big pitch. Nowadays, agencies must become consultants themselves in a sense. They need analysts and researchers on staff. They need business strategists at the ready. Creative agencies need to not only grasp big data, but also learn from it quickly, and create their client strategy accordingly. They will be hard-pressed to compete with other firms that have both creative and data experts under the same roof.

2) Incorporate data and let it drive your creative decisions.

Creative strategists need to embrace what the data is telling them, and they will benefit from having these numbers. Instead of starting from scratch and just brainstorming how to help a client, agencies can actually learn from what data is telling them and go from there. Agencies may not only be creating ad campaigns, but they could also be suggesting a face-lift of a client’s website, a revamp of their social media presence or an outdoor in Times Square. There are so many more ways to touch a customer, and a customer now has that many more opportunities to have a bad brand experience. Agencies need to create the best brand experience across the board on many different channels, but they need to track their results, analyze the data, and re-iterate where needed.

3) Create technical roles and hire them as soon as possible.

Here at Xivic, we tout ourselves as a search experience marketing agency. This emphasizes the user experience, the customer journey from a keyword search to their experience on a website, or a social media platform. We have analysts, developers, and data scientists in-house that track the customer’s journey and experience, we use their data to inform our next steps. Agencies need to follow suit and hire these types of roles as soon as they can – even if they start small. Taking away some of the budgets from traditional print and broadcast roles can help.

In short, creative agencies need to scale for the digital consumer. They have to hire a data team in-house to become researchers and analysts and learn to respond creatively.