Ad Tech Requires Different, Not Fewer, Agency Folk

That’s one point Josh Perlstein, president of Response Media, made at OMMA Atlanta last week. He was speaking on the “New Agency” panel -- meaning, are programmatic technologies and real-time bidding (RTB) forcing agencies to reinvent themselves?

There is a perceived power struggle between tech providers, trading desks, agencies, and brands themselves. The extent of this intra-industry battle for a piece of the pie depends on who you ask, but it’s clear that agencies are at least thinking about it.

However, it’s not just RTB and programmatic buying that are changing the way agencies operate. The underlying theme of greater speed and agility -- which is the promise of ad tech -- is what's weighing on the minds of agency executives as they struggle to adapt and keep pace with the demands of a changing marketplace, whether through rejigging leadership teams or going through Ad Tech 101 and bringing technology in-house.

Take the Ayzenberg Group, for example. True to Perlstein’s prognosis -- although in the scope of being more “real-time” without the aid of hard ad technologies -- the Pasadena-based ad agency hired four new execs last week, all of whom are meant to play a role in making the agency more agile, particularly on the social front.



It’s just one agency, but the simple fact that a two-decade-old agency is pitching four exec hires in such a light is telling.

The increased agency desire to be more hands-on with ad technology is something else we’ve seen, and some vendors are looking to make it easier to accomplish. For example, DataXu last week announced upgrades to its platform to entice more agencies to use their software as an in-house solution.

That may just be the way they postured the platform update, but that’s more or less what I’m getting at here.

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