September 2020

The Decentralization of Madison Avenue

I spent ten years creating analytics capabilities in marketing and ad agencies before I joined Gartner, and there’s one key trend that’s held true since I started my career: Analysts are a hot commodity.

And based on the research we conducted for this year’s Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech, that trend is only going to continue. The capabilities of ad tech continue to grow ever more advanced, requiring the aptitude of quantitative, wonky folks to figure out how to operate them.

Clients are feeling this too. As they navigate decisions about in-housing their advertising operations and working with agencies, they continue to ask us how to staff and manage their teams. Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Data & Analytics Survey found that 44% of marketing data and analytics teams expect to increase in size over the next two years. It’s remarkable, especially when the current team averages 46 FTEs.

This idea makes me sweat. Where are teams going to source this talent from? Where will they find the analysts for their advertising?

We’re seeing marketing and advertising teams begin to look to nontraditional markets for talent. Remember those database marketing analysts from back in the day? They’re being reskilled to manage ever more data-intensive advertising campaigns.

In fact, marketing analytics is increasingly being used to inform decisions once centralized to creative teams and media planners. In the same survey mentioned above, respondents said data and analytics either significantly or moderately influences several activities once central to advertising.

As advertising teams become more data-driven, and as working remotely outside of hip, urban offices becomes the norm, one has to wonder:

Is this the beginning of the decentralization of Madison Avenue?


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