Marketers need to redirect $19bn of their tech spending to agency creativity over the next six years, according to analysis by Forrester, the research firm.

Jay Pattisall, a principal analyst at Forrester, discussed this subject in a keynote session at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“Marketers: you need to move $19bn out of technology and into creativity over the next six years,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Why marketers need to redirect $19bn to agency creativity.)

“It’s essentially a six-year growth plan for your clients and the CMO. It’s a gradual approach, where you shift fewer dollars in years one and two to allow for transition, and then you ramp up the spend towards the end, while maintaining the necessary technology investments.”

The motivation behind this shift, Forrester’s research argued, stems in part from an under-investment in agency creativity among brands, running all the way from “agency compensation to the pitch process”, Pattisall said.

One result of neglecting creativity, he continued, is a lack of differentiated customer experiences, as brands are effectively using the same technologies to solve the same problems.

“Consequently, all the work kind of looks and acts and feels the same. The front door to your brand is a web experience or an app experience that’s virtually indistinguishable,” Pattisall said.

“We need to hold the total experience to the same high standards that we used to hold for campaigns and we need creativity to make the difference.”

Clients must shoulder their share of the blame for neglecting agency creativity – but are not solely responsible. “In fact, agencies are underfunding creativity, too,” Pattisall said.

“Since 2014, agencies have spent $12bn-plus on data and technology resources. Now, yes, these data and technology platforms do power media, they do help with audience activation – but not so much creativity.”

Following Forrester’s reinvestment proposal, he suggested, would help tackle this situation. “Let’s be clear: this is not about defunding technology,” Pattisall said.

“This is about balancing technology and creativity. This is about taking the dollars that we know that you’re already going to spend … and shifting a portion of those dollars into the creative workforce that can make the most out of your investments to begin with.”

Sourced from WARC