LAS VEGAS – With all the pressures that most marketers are facing, being at CES 2018 can actually be a bit scary. Which is why many agencies are here with their clients, trying to guide them through all of the promotional smoke and noise to what really matters.

“There is fear in the unknown. What we’re tying to do is educate our staff and our clients about what the possibilities are,” says Troy Ruhanen, President & CEO, TBWA Worldwide.

Some of the exhibiting companies could do better job of explaining themselves, while some data providers could be much clearer on what they can actually do, Ruhanen adds in this interview with Beet.TV.

“I think a lot of these platforms are really poor at education. I think they’re really good at showing you the content that can exist there, but they don’t do a great job of showing how brands can live in those spaces.”

Advertising and media agencies have been thrust in into the educator role, which explains their looking for talent in places they probably would not have considered 10 years ago—including the CIA, Wall Street and journalists. TBWA tells its managers to seek potential candidates earlier than they used to.

“You’ve got to have a pipeline well ahead of your need,” says Ruhanen. “Talent is a battle.”

While he acknowledges the proliferation of agency competitors in recent years, he believes agencies are in the best position to adapt for what’s coming. Those that will survive will be the ones whose clients can have “one conversation” to achieve all of their goals.

“This year, I actually think the stronger agencies are going to go through a period of re-integration and get many more skills built back in and they’re going to do really, really well.” With regard to newer competitors, he adds, “A lot of them are up here in the clouds or they start with the technology place and they don’t really know how to apply it against the consumer and strategically do that.”

Ruhanen chalks up his company’s new-business strengths to many factors, not least of which is not overpromising. “There’s a lot of conversation around data right now,” he says. “I’ve heard it all three days that I’ve been here. I’ve sat through their pitches and if I’m a client, it’s a little bit frightening because everyone says they’ve got the answer, everyone says that they can help you.”