MIAMI – With programmatic buying of outdoor and radio on the horizon—and addressable television in the not-too-distant future—media agencies like Maxus welcome a shift of emphasis from efficiency to efficacy.

Such a transition puts creativity front and center in what until now has been largely a technological arms race to harness automation.

“As an agency, we want to be designed around the idea as opposed to just the media,” says Steve Williams, CEO of Maxus, Americas. “If we can get the rate of creativity to match the rate of programmatic if you will, in terms of technology and the data around it, I think we’ll be doing justice for our clients.”

This requires more of a focus on planning and strategy. Or, as Williams explains during a break at the annual Transformation conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, progressing to “a world of thinking.”

The prospect of addressable TV, encompassing some 60 million households by year’s end, being bought programmatically provides more urgency to the progression. In an increasingly data-driven world, media agency talent will need to adapt new skills to not only do things faster, but more intelligently.

“We are looking for different skills and different talents from our people to be able to really understand that data. That’s the issue,” Williams says. “There’s lots of data there. We are really exercising very different muscles these days from the ones we exercised when we were just placing ads.”

As to source of creative output derived from the fullest understanding of consumer data, Williams doesn’t think there will be a “turf war” among the various constituents working on behalf of marketers.

“Who isn’t producing content these days?” Williams says, citing sister company Xaxis along with Maxus. “We produce creative work also. “I think it’s going to be about who has the most proximity to the idea.”

This video was recorded at the 4A’s Transformation conference in Miami. For additional interviews, please visit this page. Beet.TV’s coverage of the 4A’s was sponsored by The Trade Desk.

4A's Transformation 2016 Miami, presented by The Trade Desk