During my many years in the marketing business and through my involvement with the American Marketing Association I've been exposed to several people from ad agencies. Nearly all are bright, motivated, talented people and the work they produce is often awesome. Their capabilities are broad but one area that's seldom an agency specialty is web analytics data, and unfortunately many don't utilize the power of this valuable resource.
An experienced data driven online marketing company can provide a tremendous positive impact on the success ad agencies have with their clients - if they fully understood all that can be done with popular web analytics platforms. Detailed data about product popularity and consumer behaviors associated with individual products can have a major impact on tactics. Measuring how customers navigate through the sales and marketing process, testing and making improvements can go a long way to improving conversions and getting more results from marketing investments. Using web analytics data to track the effectiveness of offline marketing efforts brings better visibility to print and broadcast spend.
One additional element to consider when evaluating data analytics partners is their knowledge of business and the components of profitability. A solid understanding of the economics of a business model is critical to establishing the metrics that bring visibility to the elements that are most critical to campaign success.
In the end, data driven marketing firms aren't competing with ad agencies. Instead, they can be a valuable partner that support the agency on record to get superior results for their clients - and keep them for the long term.