One theme that comes up often in conversations about marketing and location data management is whether the work should be done by an agency or by a technology provider. At Street Fight Summit in New York on Tuesday, Brett Fritz, VP of business development at digital performance marketing company DAC Group, went into detail about why there are pros and cons to both approaches.
On the technology side, the obvious pros are automation and scalability when it comes to mundane tasks. Fritz, quoting a developer that he had recently talked to, said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s one location, ten locations, thousands, or hundreds of thousands. To technology, it’s just code. It’s just more lines.”
However, scalability doesn’t help with the reality that, as Fritz explained, “technology is zeros and ones.” In other words, understanding human emotion is not something that technology can do all that well — despite how much innovation there has been over the past few years. Further, technology is built with a single use case; if there are others, he explained, the technology can’t offer support.
On the other hand, agencies are able to handle the two negatives about technology. They are, by design, run by people. “No one likes working with an augmented teller over the phone. People want to work with a person,” Fritz said. And on that note, when other use cases show up, the agency is able to adapt and work on them, even if that was not the initial intent.
Yet, there are negatives as well. “Agencies make mistakes. Humans make errors. We’ve all had that time that someone turned around and said ‘whoops’ and it’s a mistake that has to be accounted for,” Fritz explained. And to make matters worse, the more work that a brand has for an agency, the more money it will cost because “people are expensive.”
What if the pros of the agency could support the cons of technology and vice versa?
“You need to be an agency that works with technology or a technology group that offers agency services,” Fritz said, explaining how DAC Group handles marketing and location data management.
He walked the room through a use case where one of DAC Group’s clients, Nordstrom, used both an agency for a while, then moved to a technology company, before settling on DAC Group. While Nordstrom saw success with both previous groups, by focusing on both agency and technology offerings, DAC Group was able to significantly move the needle.
Ultimately, Nordstrom saw triple digit ROI thanks to the tracking that DAC Group put in place.
For brands looking for people to do marketing and location data management work or for agencies looking to differentiate themselves, creating a mixture of tech and agency is a smart way to differentiate yourself. Technology and agencies all have their place; when mixed together, their weaknesses become strengths.
Jacob Donnelly is a Street Fight contributor. Photo by Shana Wittenwyler.