Does Your Agency Partner Have the Right Stuff in Analytics?

By Jim Head, President, Fitzco Analytics

For the past 20 years, I’ve lived many lives in the agency analytics world. I began at an independent agency. I was embedded within a big network agency. I started a practice of my own, working directly with clients and white labeling with agencies. And now, I’ve boomeranged back to agency life – having sold my practice and running it within the walls of Fitzco since late 2021.

An important part of my job is bias , that is, reducing people’s perception/agenda to form conclusions in favor of using data. For our clients we do exactly that. But as humans, we can’t eliminate it entirely, so even I have certain biases about the rise of agency “analytics” – the quotes may be a bit of a giveaway – that no amount of scrubbing can remove.

At the center of this is an often misunderstood distinction: analytics as general analysis and reporting (e.g., media performance dashboards) vs. analytics as contemporary data science (e.g., classification modeling, optimization, etc.).

My position is not to rank one ahead of the other, only to point out that there’s a difference that requires unique skillsets. How and with whom an agency has built its practice makes all the difference.

If it’s your job to discern whether your agency partner is built for the former or the latter, I don’t envy you. Mismatching the scope and depth of your needs with their practice capabilities can result in outcomes ranging from immaterial to wasteful to malpractice.

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