It’s been a big year for brand marketers. With a reported $25 billion set to change hands as agency accounts came up for renewal, this year was both a threat and an opportunity.

In truth, so-called “Pitchapalooza” has been about more than just beauty contests for contract renewal – it’s also about establishing which agencies have digital chops in the booming age of data-driven marketing.

“This has been an unprecedented year. We’ve felt it as an agency,” admits Dentsu Aegis media planning and buying agency Carat‘s global president Doug Ray, in this video interview with Beet.TV

“It’s setting a precedent in terms of marking a change in what clients are expecting from agencies, what agencies’ capabilities need to be.

We’ve fared pretty well. We’re at about $1.8bn in net new business. That doesn’t account for the major decisions that are yet to come this year – Procter & Gamble, Sony and so on.”

Carat pinched Mondelez’s contract from MediaVest, Pfizer shifted its media planning to the firm, too, while Carat also picked up LongHorn Steakhouses, all following last year’s big MasterCard win.

What’s Carat doing right? Ray says: “Agencies are focused on technology stack, data strategy… how they help clients move from less legacy, reservation, less flexible media in to much more dynamic, automated and addressable media.”

That’s what he has his eyes on as he embarks on a visit to the Consumer Electronics Show, where he says clients want to “understand the future of marketing through the lens of data and innovation.”

This video is part of a series titled “The Road to CES,” a series of video interviews leading up to CES in January.  The series is sponsored by YuMe.   For more videos from the series, please visit this page.

Readers note:  Ray will be one of the keynote speakers in the Beet Retreat in Vieques in February.