Over the past day or so there was an interesting conversation underneath an article about what advertising agencies will look like in 2015.
The article itself starts by saying "the world of advertising is in flux." True. We can all agree that change is a reality.
The discussion broke out over the subject of analytics. Some people embraced analytics as a valuable tool. On the other hand, one person said "analytics is just another word for bean counter".
In the days of Ye Olde Marketing, my life in large agencies was about strategy and creative. Now it's about strategy, creative and analytics. It's much easier to know which half of my budget is being wasted. (I've written about this here and here.)
Back on analytics, a comment by "Bruce" of Toronto is worth repeating here: "I, too, agree [analytics is important]. The problem will be as it has always been, though: What to measure? Advertising's job usually isn't to sell, as a matter of fact. Usually, advertising's job is to predispose a consumer to buy, with the sale being closed by another more immediate brand experience. Measurement will save this business if it's intelligent, and destroy it if it's nothing more than simplistic scorekeeping."
Bruce, I agree -- that's where the channel-neutral planning comes in. If the only tool we have is traditional advertising, all we can do is predispose a consumer to buy. If we plan the consumer's entire path to purchase, however, we can figure out how to predispose, incite -- and close the sale. The measurement will be clearer, too.
The 19 comments posted as of this writing may not be a scientific sample but they would seem to indicate that analytics is far from ingrained in agency culture today. In the future, it will be.