BEVERLY HILLS: Agencies now have an unprecedented opportunity to prove that their work drives growth for clients, but only if they embrace data and technology, according to a leading industry figure.

Chris Weil, chairman/ceo of Momentum Worldwide and current chair of the 4A's, spoke to Warc as 4A's Transformation - the Association of Advertising Agencies' annual conference - got underway.

He asserted that agencies play an essential role in fuelling the success of the organisations they serve, and also that of the wider economy. (For more, including why agencies must focus on the war for talent, read Warc's exclusive report: 4A's fulfills promise of true Transformation" at 2014 conference.)

"First and foremost, what we do works: we build strong brands. When we create strong brands, we create demand. When we create demand, we create growth," Weil said.

"When we create growth for brands, we create growth for companies. And we drive the economy forward. We drive jobs forward."

However, all too often, advertising agencies have failed to adequately demonstrate and communicate the results of the vital functions they perform.

"If we embrace data and we embrace technology, for the first time we will be able to prove - unequivocally - that what we do works. And, if we do that right as an industry, we're setting this up as a growth industry," said Weil.

As evidence of the need to convince brand owners about the value agencies provide, Weil quoted data from the Agency2020 report compiled by consultancy EffectiveBrands, and backed by the 4A's.

The study - presented at the conference - found that over half of US agencies believe they have "made the transformation in data and technology to drive ROI and improve our worth."

Less than a fifth of clients, though, shared this view. Such findings, Weil contended, "will help the 4A's drive the agenda of what it needs to do to support agencies."

Data sourced from Warc