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Oracle Data Cloud Blog

How agencies can stay competitive: RIP ABC1 target audiences

This week's guest blog post is contributed by Jacqueline Leng, Senior Agency Development Lead, Oracle Data Cloud.

If you’ve worked in the UK, then you’ve seen this demographic classification system on briefs from agencies: Target audience is “ABC1.”

This half-century-old system is still wildly used by agencies, but isn’t it time to consider whether ABC1 is still an accurate way to reach consumers?

Especially when, simultaneously, this classification encompasses 60 percent of all the UK population.

Agencies are in an arm’s race to stay competitive

There’s pressure coming from the increasing demands of clients—a constant in the last few years due to shrinking margins.

Pressure also comes from the encroachment of management consultancies on the agencies’ turf.

Consultancies are becoming a real threat to ad agencies by growing their presence in marketing departments.

This is a feat done by offering solutions to big business problems that traditional advertising no longer can solve on its own.


To be truly competitive—and win more client budgets—agencies at the holding-company level are elevating their game with dedicated data and analytics teams.

Their secret sauce is the data science behind their audience planning process.

This is where investment in data strategies is key. In the past three to five years, we’ve seen programmatic buying grow exponentially.

So, how will agencies evaluate their data partners to understand the quality of their data and, most important, how to optimize that data to achieve better business outcomes?

How agencies can stay ahead of the curve

With the changing advertising landscape, competition from consultancies and regulatory headwinds, agencies need a partner—not a vendor—who can help.

That data partner should be platform agnostic with the expertise in data to help elevate the agency’s knowledge to better service their clients.

More significantly, brands need agencies to develop the right message at the right time to communicate with consumers.

The broad definition of ABC1 is no longer an effective way to identify and engage with today’s dynamic consumers.

Target effectively for real success

A more targeted classification approach is a step closer to having one-on-one communication between the brand and the consumers.

This targeted approach builds consumer trust, which is the most critical element. This is why agencies are investing in data and analytics to fine-tune that right approach.

Data is key to driving better business outcomes. A strong partner in data requires a good grasp on their data quality and a dedicated team to support, educate, and help with regulatory alignment. Oracle Data Cloud can play an important role here.

Contact The Data Hotline today to learn how our team can help your agency win in 2018. (What's The Data Hotline?)

About Jacqueline “Jacqui” Leng  

Jacqui is a seasoned sales professional with more than 12 years of experience working in the ad tech industry in San Francisco, New York, and London.

Jacqui has worked with agencies and clients across verticals including: Tech, Entertainment, Pharma, Vibrant, MaxPoint, and Yahoo! Associated Content.

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Image: Shutterstock

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