By David Hohman, Managing Director, Nielsen Agency Solutions
Growth has become hard to come by for many industries around the globe, and uneasy political and economic environments have made it even more difficult for agencies as companies curtail their ad and marketing spending.
In addition to the tough macroeconomic conditions, agencies are facing consolidation and increased competition—even from outside their traditional circles. Combined, these elements all make it that much more important that agencies demonstrate differentiation—the special sauce that sets them apart. Creative and storytelling play a critical role in that, coupled with a serious commitment and proficiency around that data.
Above all, agencies need to be able to meet the needs of their clients in the most contemporary way, and today, that means they’re adjusting to buyer-based targeting. Audience buying continues to accelerate change: Advertisers want to buy behavioral targets and media owners want to sell them. These differentiated data capabilities, incidentally, are often built with Nielsen data at their core—an advantage that serves as the connective tissue within the proprietary platforms of many of the industry’s biggest agencies.
As agency margins are under significant and continuing pressure, their proprietary tech stacks become more reliant on client funding, which is becoming scarce in light of zero-based budgeting and cuts in ad spend. As a result, the need for high-quality, third-party data and off-the-shelf solutions continues to increase, as they provide the much-needed bench strength for agencies under constant pressure on all fronts. This could yield upside for data and cloud companies that can step in and fill the gaps.
The good news is that these hurdles aren’t without solutions. Agencies can use Nielsen data (the currency for TV & Radio), the Nielsen Total Audience framework and software solutions to find, plan and activate their campaigns on both linear and digital platforms. Finally, Nielsen has worked with agencies to provide short-term, discounted licenses to agencies in the hunt for new business, and even helped to co-develop solutions to meet the needs of an agencies’ advertiser clients and new business prospects.