LONDON: The advertising industry faces a number of problems, ranging from working in silos to the way it handles data, but it is not doing enough to address them, top brand marketers have told delegates at Advertising Week Europe.

Speaking at a session entitled, "The Uncomfortable Truth about Marketing", top executives from Unilever, Sainsbury's, Santander and Travelex delivered a candid assessment of brand-agency relationships and the challenges facing them.

Mark Given, director of communications at Sainsbury's, said brands are now expected to deliver an omnichannel customer experience yet it is difficult to join up the dots because the industry is full of silos, The Drum reported.

"That could be silos in terms of organisation structure or in terms of data but the one thing that annoys me is the silos that are increasingly created in agency relationships," he said.

"So stop focusing on individual specialisms and channels and look at what my critical customer problems are and what can you do to solve them," he added, in reference to competition within agencies.

Video was the issue exercising Keith Moor, Santander's CMO, who said that a video the Spanish bank launched this month received only 603,000 views on Facebook, with only 5% making it all the way through, yet his agency had promised there would be three times as many, or 1.7m placements.

He urged industry practitioners to get their "heads out of the sand" and recognise that really only the first five seconds of a video ad matters.

Dominic Grounsell, global marketing director at Travelex, the foreign exchange firm, emphasised that the age of data meant marketing departments and agencies should be doing more to recruit specialists with a background in science, maths and engineering.

He added that attracting these people into marketing is "bloody hard" because of perceptions of what the industry is about.

Finally, Patricia Corsi, vice-president of foods and beverages at Unilever, expressed concern about marketers adopting an over-reliance on data at the expense of experience and creativity.

"I love the feeling when you go into an agency and get presented with an amazing idea based on insight," she said. "But if we're going in and getting told, 'well let's see what the algorithm tells us' we'll miss something. There is something in the art and I don't like this group that's all about the logic and data."

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff