The Agency Evolution: From Traditional to Digital to Data

Is there something missing from the debate about the need for a traditional agency vs. a digital agency?

Driven By Data

When digital marketing started to shift from the background to the foreground, a whisper was often heard:

The traditional agency is dead.

The counterargument was, hey wait a sec, you should only trust your ‘traditional’ agency to deliver on the brand, the campaign – the almighty creative. Then, feel free to lean on the propeller heads from a digital agency to program it into a website with a side of paid search or display advertising – maybe even a Facebook Page if you want to be social (more on that some other time).

Over time, digital agencies claimed — who needs those madmen of yesteryear that only know how to create a snappy headline and an arresting image? We have creative chops, too. And not only that, our creative is superior because those martini-marinated throwbacks don’t get digital and their creative doesn’t translate to the web.

The Madison Avenue agencies fought back. They bought digital agencies and ‘integrated’ them into their networks. They hired top-tier geeknoid talent and infused digital thinking into their brand strategy.

So where did that leave the client?

Some clients went all in with one agency and said, I trust you. Here’s my brand and my budget. Go forth and provide me with results. Depending on the talent pool assigned to the brand from the agency, some clients won while others lost.


Because it turns out that clients and their agency partners were often focused on the wrong thing. Traditional doesn’t matter. Digital doesn’t matter.

So what matters?


How are results achieved?

Through a mix of strategy, creative and execution across multiple channels with a team that has a diverse, multidisciplinary background.

How do you measure results?

The same way you measure anything – through data. I’m not talking about the kind of data that is measured through subjective opinions delivered via one-way glass. I’m not talking about the kind of data that is measured in an optimal cost-per-click. I’m talking about raw data from the real world reflecting traction and transactions with your brand materials – online or offline.

That’s why we started Sentient – we’re not a digital agency. We’re not a traditional agency. We are a data-driven agency. We focus on what works and why to deliver results for our clients.

That’s the focus of our agency. That’s the focus of this blog.


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