Last week I attended iMedia’s Agency Summit, where agency professionals gathered to discuss agency evolution and media progression. With a focus on big data and the balance between strategy and media technology, this year’s summit presentations and panel discussions were grounded in a conversation around the integration (or lack thereof) between creativity and data. Presenters highlighted the thesis that there is still a long way to go before we can call the marriage of data and creative a success, and offered recommendations/predictions of how the two will successfully come together in the future.
All of the panel discussions, master tracks, and spotlight presentations offered valuable information and insight into agency evolution and progression in 2013. Below are my top 5 takeaways from this year’s summit:
- Dan Hill, Ph.D., President of Sensory Logic & Author of “Emotionomics” gave a compelling presentation on “Neural Marketing and Facial Coding”. Dr. Hill is a pioneer of using facial coding to create emotional metrics and he postulates that many of today’s ad copy tests fail because they do not account for respondents’ emotions. He also offered an interesting statistic: the emotional part of the brain sends 10X as much data as the rational part of the brain.
- We heard from new digital intelligence platform companies, such as Burt and Abakus, who are working on projects that will transform agency business in the coming years. The presentation from Abakus was particularly impressive, as the speaker provided an easy-to-understand overview of how the company incorporates Game Theory into its attribution model. Abakus’ main takeaways were: Data is king (start capturing user-level data – track everything), challenge the status quo, think incremental or marginal value, and get buy-in early.
- When discussing its ShareGraphTM, an audience intelligence solution layer, the speaker from RadiumOne shared a compelling statistic: A company’s next customer has an 87% likelihood of being connected to a current customer. Therefore, understanding the connection points between consumers is of the utmost importance to acquiring new customers.
- Participation in the iMedia summit involved scheduling 10-minute speed-dating-type one-on-one meetings with technology or solution providers. The 10-minute block of time provided just enough time to learn more about various solution providers’ innovations and points of differentiation.
- The chance to connect, exchange ideas, and get to know colleagues from other digital agencies was my favorite part of the summit. With free time in short supply, it was great to be able to relax with other agency attendees at the summit.
With data and creativity serving as the overall theme of iMedia’s Agency Summit, Doug Weaver, CEO of Upstream Media, offered relevant advice for agency professionals: “The two most powerful words we should ask ourselves are ‘So What?’ as it forces us to pursue meaning; from meaning comes point-of-view and from point-of-view comes leadership.” His words provoke agency leaders to continue innovating and pushing our businesses to the next level. Truly inspiring!