Agencies and data. Both have been around for quite some time now, but have they always worked in harmony to enable brands and retailers to connect to their ideal customers and move the needle in their marketing and advertising goals?

While agencies have produced some of the most intriguing and thought provoking concepts and creative designs for local and national advertising campaigns, only recently has data come to mean just as much, if not more, in determining the effectiveness of a campaign by providing additional and far greater, actionable insights into consumers, products and location to better optimize campaigns and deliver results. Yet, as data, science, and technology continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and data platforms become even more intelligent in collecting deeper sets of shopper insights via mobile devices, agencies will need to continue to reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the pack.

For instance, 44% of marketers surveyed plan to move dollars away from marketing and into marketing technologies in 2017, says HubSpot via RSW/US. Is your agency equipped to meet marketer’s technology expectations in the coming years? If you’re an agency professional, do you have a well informed understanding of how data can impact the success or failure of your client’s campaign?

 

One agency who believes data is power and is reinventing the wheel is Allen & Gerritsen – an independent advertising agency who is linking technology to human behavior to create better experiences for consumers. Because ShopAdvisor provides contextualized product, shopper and location data to dozens of agencies, like A&G, we sat down with Timothy Parcell, VP of Experience Planning at A&G, to ask him four questions about how agencies are leveraging data and technology, and why it’s important that data providers and agencies work together for the benefit of not only the client, but the customer experience.

1. Recent reports indicate that creative ad agencies are expected to grow in the next five years. Why is it important for ad agencies to find the perfect match when it comes to a technology vendor or third party data partner?

I’m glad to hear that recent reports indicate that creative agencies are expected to grow. Sometimes when you’re in the the thick of it you don’t know if you’re up or down. Technology has become so interwoven in people’s lives now. The average person is checking their phone every 6.5 minutes now and all that online activity is data rich with intent, action and motivations waiting to be satisfied.

“Tech/data partners who can help enable great ideas are invaluable as we look to create new stories–not just for broadcast, but rich personalized ones that start from a person browsing a website on their couch and then continuing as they go about their daily lives.”

We’re slowly building a world like Minority Report, where data and technology can speak just to us and break through the clutter.

2. We are living in a mobile-centric world. What are some of the opportunities and obstacles you are seeing at an agency level in regards to delivering mobile marketing experiences?

Building on what I just said, the leadership of the agency is starting to see people as continuously moving through the Internet via different devices — laptops, tablets, smartphones, watches. Our smartphones have become the most predominant device for providing a personalized, rich experience at any given moment. Our location can quickly be pinpointed against a databases of stores around us. Beacons can start to connect our phones to signage and encourage us to step inside. And once we’re there, an associate powered by technology can begin clienteling. For example, the MVSE platform that A&G Labs came up with is a precursor to a smart dressing room that can help brands upsell and cross sell in ways that only Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co were able to do with their store databases.

3. What are your thoughts on the evolving nature of shoppers? How can brands and retailers, specifically those whose goal is to drive consumers into stores, keep up?

Timothy Parcell, VP of Experience Planning at A&G

Shoppers’ expectations are on the rise as big brands like Walmart and Amazon and disruptive brands like Warby Parker start to collide. Each one has used technology to their advantages. On the big brand side, most of the “wow” is invisible to a customer. It’s just a great experience getting what you wanted within a couple of hours. But the logistics and workflow management behind the scenes is fascinating. Having played in the space for the last several years, I notice things like when I receive an email from REI to review a purchase I made in store. Their seamless inventory and the co-op loyalty program database is getting me (and others) to provide content that helps another person make a purchase decision. To a layperson, that’s no big deal, but to retailers that seamless story is powerful.

Warby Parker, on the other side, figured out ways to make the shopping experience more enjoyable. The idea of letting people try frames before they buy isn’t groundbreaking, but the way they used technology made people say, “why didn’t I think of that?”

4. A&G is very innovative in its own. Where do you see the connection and synergy of technology and ad agencies moving in the next 5-10 years?

I think technology and ad agencies are two sides of the same coin. Functionality & Form. The greatest customer experiences are often only found when the two are in harmony, resting on the edge rather than either one being face up. It’s why we still need to have an idea drive where we want to go. Technology, like ShopAdvisor, can provide rich insights to start and inspire creative thinkers to come up with ways to push partners to new limits. When I first started, we weren’t even able to do progressive loading, websites would have to go to a new page for more information, now, we can make adjustments in real time.


ShopAdvisor enables agencies, brands, retailers, shopping malls and media to power shopping experiences that drive consumers path to purchase in brick-and-mortar locations. The ShopAdvisor Platform continually collects contextualized product, shopper and location data and applies deep analytics to deliver each shopper a uniquely personalized shopping experience that spans from point of discovery to in store. Some of our customers include Walgreens, Dell, Vince Camuto, Hefty, DelMonte, Elle, GroupM, P&G, Anheuser Busch, and Pepsico. To learn more about our intelligence platform and proximity marketing services, please visit www.shopadvisor.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Allen & Gerritsen (A&G) is a fiercely independent agency in the cities where independence was born, Boston & Philadelphia. A&G is driven to create positive impact in the world and in people’s lives by aligning brands with a higher purpose. The agency is audience-obsessed and outcomes-first; its people are on a mission to be “always in the making” in constant pursuit of what’s next. Ad Age twice has named A&G the Best Place to Work in U.S. Marketing & Media. To learn more, check out http://www.a-g.com/ or follow the agency on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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