If you work in a marketing agency, then finding the time to understand and implement new martech can be tricky. It’s one of the things we hear agencies struggle with time and time again.
The most ambitious agency marketers have a dizzying amount of spinning plates on the go at any given time — and with clients increasingly demanding a data-driven approach, more and more of the agency marketers’ day is being filled with data ops. Ultimately, this means that marketers who were hired for their creativity end up in a much more data-based role than they signed up for.
“You’d love to be doing super-exciting projects, building massive value for your clients, and working on cutting edge campaigns,” says John Ball, Senior Sales Manager at Adverity, “but you are too stretched and bogged down with regular mundane tasks to even be able to deliver what you are currently working on, let alone work on something new.”
Agency marketers are too stretched with regular mundane tasks to even be able to deliver what they're currently working on, let alone work on something new.
John Ball, Senior Sales Manager at Adverity
It’s not always easy to step back and realize that there’s a simpler way of doing things. But the fact of the matter is that becoming data-driven delivers better marketing performance, so the move towards data-first marketing isn’t going away any time soon.
If agencies can set some time aside to commit to automating data ops, then there’s a wealth of benefits they can reap. So, I’ve put together the top 5 reasons why agencies need to become more data mature.
1. Optimize campaigns
No agency marketer wants to spend weeks on a campaign concept only to have it tank because it’s been published at the wrong time, or on the wrong channel.
Once you’ve streamlined the process for creating a clear view of marketing performance across all your channels, it’s much easier to spot channels that are performing well and give them a boost so that your ads have more impact.
You’ll also be able to catch outliers like a sudden spike in CPC for certain adwords. This means you can reduce risk and avoid wasted ad spend by getting to these anomalies early on.
2. Justify budget decisions for your clients
One in three agency marketers say they struggle to get visibility over their marketing channels and activities. It’s no wonder when the majority of marketing teams still spend hours manually cobbling their reports together in excel every week. And there are some other worrying stats that came out of our recent research too…
- Over half of agency marketers are still not able to access all their marketing data from a centralized data warehouse/data lake
- Only 58% of agency marketers have self-service access to up-to-date reporting
- Less than half of agency marketers are able to track end-to-end performance of marketing campaigns
For your clients, being able to measure and report the impact of marketing decisions is going to be a big draw. But if you don’t have visibility over marketing performance, then decision making becomes a stressful game of guesswork, and explaining decisions to clients becomes very tricky — both for long-term investments like martech, but also for campaign optimizations in the short-term.
3. Make timely decisions based on data
Customer behavior changes quickly. Modern marketing agencies can’t afford to waste time on manual data integration. If it takes you three days to get any meaningful insights from your marketing data, then those insights will already be outdated by the time you put them into practice.
Slow data analysis means slow decisions and ultimately translates to wasted budget. In fact, one recent study found that a consumer electricals company saved $2.9 million in ad spend over three years due to timely insights on performance.
“We were doing marketing in the dark,” said the Head of Marketing Insights and Performance, “we had spreadsheet-based reporting, which is like looking in the rear mirror at what happened last month, but we were not able to look forward and steer.”
4. Cut down time spent on reporting
Recent research discovered that 54% of agencies are building their routine marketing reports manually on spreadsheets. So it should come as no surprise that 39% of agencies struggled with time spent on manual data wrangling for reporting, making this their top challenge last year.
Automating painstaking manual data processes means you can spend much less time on reporting tasks, and more time using the insights from that data to add value for your clients.
A recent study on a global consumer electricals company found that having access to automatically updated reports and dashboards saved the marketing teams significant time and effort on running weekly or monthly spreadsheet-based reports.
The company estimated that this could cut down about 75% of their time spent on these activities which amounted to time savings of $1.8 million over three years.
5. Automate data governance
If you don’t have an underlying structure for it, data governance can be stressful and time-consuming. Failing to comply with data regulations could mean a devastating fine.
Centralizing data into a secure environment means data governance is taken care of. By creating a single source of truth and controlling who has access to what, agency marketers can avoid sending spreadsheets back and forth. Instead of spending their time jumping through hoops to make sure data sharing is all above board, they can use that time to focus on their clients, and the creative ways they can add value for them.
Life in a marketing agency can be hectic, and it’s easy to find yourself buried under a mountain of marketing data if you’re not careful. But with the rise of increasingly sophisticated marketing tech, the move towards data-driven marketing shouldn’t mean that you find yourself in an IT role — and it certainly shouldn’t be eating into the more creative aspects of your job.