Performance marketing agencies are set to get closer to creative responsibilities as a result of ‘owning’ information around the consumer, according to Performics CEO Michael Kahn.

Brands are increasingly turning to data and analytics tools to inform their marketing decisions, which has removed some of the emphasis on creative agencies to guide their clients’ campaigns. 

Kahn, who heads up the operation at global performance marketing agency and ZenithOptimedia subsidiary Performics, believes that given the amount of tools at their disposal, companies like his own are set to take advantage.

“From the digital view, who owns the data and the discussion around the consumer profile? It’s the performance agencies,” he told 

“This isn’t like us overstating what we are doing today, if you think about where we are going in the future, it’s us owning a seat at the table now to actually be leading the marketing plan and strategy as opposed to just be fulfilling it.”

In 2013, 78% of CEOs answering to a survey by Fournaise Marketing Group said that advertising agencies were not focused enough on being able to provide the results they expect out of their marketing activity.

In the same survey, 76% of the same group said that talks with their agencies all too often revolved around “creativity as the saviour”, with little proof of their efforts bearing fruit.

The next destination

Standing as worldwide president of Performics before eventually taking the reins as CEO last year, Kahn has seen a huge shift in the types of conversations he has with advertisers.

He claimed that, historically, the creative agencies would be the first port of call when it came to generating the strategy and content for a campaign. This has since changed with a greater focus from clients on obtaining ROI. 

“The evolution was creative shops owned the discussion and then media came in and media agencies took over because they owned the connection points and all the touchpoints with the consumer. Now what’s the next destination?”

Kahn believes performance agencies will be charged with a much greater proportion of creative roles in the future, providing a ‘comfortable’ timescale of the next five years. 

Changing roles

Backing up Kahn’s words about performance agencies being far more involved in creative discussions is the demand for more traditionally-minded groups to have a performance or return-based angle about their everyday offering.

Meanwhile, performance agencies around the world have been thriving. This year saw Performics’ place 19th in RECMA’s global digital agency rank – grading companies on the strength of their worldwide operations – and expand its coverage out to 34 countries. 

In preparation for what might be around the corner, the group also runs a ‘Performance Content’ service for brands wanting to optimise their creative output at the same time as hitting goals for ROI.