Few agencies can actually do data: ADMA

By AdNews | 13 August 2015

Marketers are desperate to find agencies that are good at data analytics. The problem is there aren’t many, according to Jodie Sangster, head of the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA).

This represents a major opportunity for expert data agencies to clean up, and why third parties with decent data credentials are being snapped up by bigger companies or partnered to the hilt.

While everyone in advertising is talking up their data capabilities and how they are hiring rocket scientists and building purchase-powered analytics engines, Sangster remains unconvinced.

“A lot of companies are moving to true analytics and insights and starting to understand what their data is telling them, whether in a marketing sense or a business sense. But that is a real struggle at the moment,” she told AdNews. “One reason is there are relatively few agencies out there that actually do this sort of work. I get asked a lot by members or companies, ‘who can assist us?’ and there are not that many players out there.”

That is forcing brands to build inhouse teams, Sangster said, affecting an already tight talent market. “We have a bit of a skills gap in that area,” she deadpanned. “There are not enough people to go around and training teams takes time and investment. So finding the right assistance to drive insights from their data is where people are struggling at the moment. And it is a big problem.”

People who understand the technology overlays needed for personalised communications are also thin on the ground, Sangster said, as are those who understand data strategy.

“Writing a marketing strategy is very different to writing a data-driven or digital strategy. Developing a strategy that works for the business is quite a sought-after skill set - but without it your communications will not make sense,” Sangster said.

A version of this story originally appeared in the latest AdNews magazine (7 August). If you want to get your own copy, you can subscribe right here.

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