The New Ad Trifecta: Data, Agency, TV

The three most overused words in the advertising biz this year are “data,” “agency” and “TV.” All three are core to the current status and future direction of the entire industry.  

Being a writer at heart, I think it’s important to analyze these three words and possibly offer some better ones to consider, maybe looking at them in the context of whether they are product or benefit. Are they leading or lagging terminology?

First, let’s consider the term “data.” Data is central to everything now, because it creates the opportunity to know the audience better, offering insights.  It can be viewed as both targeting data and measurement data.  

Hundreds of companies are focused on creating value with data, with every company under the Lumascape using it in order to define or differentiate them.  Data is now table stakes in order to play in the game.  

We may not be able to stop using the term data, but maybe we can focus more on what the data becomes: knowledge.  As someone I have a ton of respect for recently said, “Companies don’t need more data. They aren’t even using all the data they already have, so why would they need even more?”  He’s right – it’s not about having data, but what you do with the data.  If data is the product, knowledge is the benefit.



Then there’s “agency,” defined as “a business or organization established to provide a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties.”  

Today’s agencies are in a state of evolution because the value and service they used to offer is different from what they will offer in the future.  The agency is still playing a mid-transaction role, but it’s less about the strategy for reaching a target, and more about understanding that target.  

The role of the agency is to create benefits from the products and tools around them. In the case of data, they should facilitate the understanding that comes from the knowledge derived from the data.  

Agencies are morphing into service providers, translating basic fact into knowledge in a way that creates value for their clients.  They’re more akin to consultants that  also offers executional capabilities — even though, more and more, clients are choosing not to take advantage of those executional capabilities.

If I were to refer to agencies in a different way, I would look at them as consultancies.  That term is more aligned with where they are headed and the value they are likely to offer. Plus, it recognizes the fact that consultants are looking to encroach on the agency business.

Finally, let’s evaluate the term “TV.”  In the old days, a TV was the specific appliance that sat stationary in your home.  That’s not the case these days, as the term is clearly becoming a broader one that refers to programmed video across any host of devices.  

TV is also becoming the most talked-about platform because everyone wants to get onto it.  The chaos of competitive programming is increasing, with companies like Facebook and Snap getting into the mix.  

TV is the new black, so to speak.  Because of that, I might recommend still calling it TV, but understanding that the word has a different meaning.

The future of the ad industry is such that these three terms are interwoven into the fabric of everyone’s business.  Data is core to creating knowledge, agencies are morphing to become consultants that create value from that knowledge, and TV is the primary platform, whether it be on one device or another, where that value creates tangible benefit.  Together, this is the new paradigm for the future of the business.

What are some other terms that may be getting quickly outdated?

4 comments about "The New Ad Trifecta: Data, Agency, TV".
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  1. Becarren Schultz from Ameritest, May 24, 2017 at 2:32 p.m.

    I would like for us all to retire "The Ask."

  2. Dave Asch from Blis, May 24, 2017 at 4:53 p.m.

    Great article... Couple more that lack context/substance:

    Tech Stack - Everyone has multiple layers of tech.  If you position your company as having a 'full stack' then that says you can do a lot of things ok or well, but you don't have a one true focus or point of differentiation.

    Viewability - Broad reporting metric indicating if an ad was placed in a viewable area of the site. Yes, brands want to know if there ad was actually seen by a human, but the placement doesnt mean that they actually saw it. The proxy here is a heavier attention to Engagement with ad creative.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 24, 2017 at 6:07 p.m.

    Here are some more, often used but potentially outdated, terms, Cory, that need better definitions or updating:

    Ad viewability

  4. Beth Donnelly Egan from Syracuse University, May 25, 2017 at 8:12 p.m.

    As always, well said Cory. One of my favorite quotes is from T.S. Eliot from his 1934 play, The Rock, "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information"?

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