How Data Can Fuel Improved Relationships Between Marketers and Agencies

ANA survey reveals 80% of companies rely on it

How essential is data in any marketer's relationship with an agency? According to a new study from the Association of National Advertisers, data plays a key part of that relationship, with 80 percent of marketers indicating they use data "often or always" when handling partnerships with agencies.

The ANA conducted its latest survey, "Using Data to Manage Agency Relationships: What's Important to Marketers," with help from Decideware. Polling 92 client-side marketers, the survey found that 82 percent of marketers said data improved the overall client/agency relationship, while 90 perfect felt it improved their agency's efficiencies.

"Data helps build better relationships between the client and agency, helping both parties focus on outcomes. And at a time where there are transparency issues in the industry, the use of data enhances trust," ANA Group evp Bill Duggan said in a statement.

One area where data is most useful for marketers is managing media and budgets, but is typically least useful on the creative and production side.

With these findings, the ANA created a set of implications or guidelines for using data that marketers and agencies should think about in the future. When it comes to media, data is key, especially now that transparency is a major issue for clients. Based on the findings, the ANA suggests that advertisers "assume greater internal stewardship of their media investments," and that they "set up metrics to track performance."

When it comes to creative, the ANA suggests that clients should be paying more attention to how data can help track "the number of rounds of revision that work undergoes prior to final approval, the average length of time that each approval step takes and even 'soft' metrics like the quality of the brief." The impact of that data may allow the client to potentially reduce agency fees and speed up work flow.

Finally, the survey shows that 78 percent of respondents work at companies that use data to support their relationships with agencies and of that 78 percent, 90 percent find it to be beneficial.