Leverage data to ensure that your agency is not complacent and that your budget is being maximised and managed properly
Data has become a critical component in ensuring that brand-agency relationships and collaboration are managed transparently and that budgets are being maximised and managed in line with everybody’s expectations. When every part of the service delivery chain has clear expectations and costs are mapped from the outset, the relationship will achieve more. When you leverage data the results are often exponentially better for both brand and agency.
The value of data
There’s little doubt that costs are a significant factor in brand-agency relationships, success metrics and the ultimate measurements of ROI. Brands want visibility into their spend, to understand where the funds have gone and how the results match their investments. Agencies have to juggle the complexities of profit and bottom line alongside the vagaries of a mercurial market and various ROI metrics.
However, a blurred line between agency spend and brand visibility can often impact both relationships and results. In a report released by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) entitled ‘Project Spring: Revolutionising the perception and contribution of global marketing procurement’, less than half of brands have full visibility into their total marketing spending and only 33% address around 80-100% of it. That said, the same report found that visibility into high-quality, multi-dimensional spend data was a key enabler for unlocking opportunity.
The budget size isn’t usually a factor in ensuring transparency in spend and deliverables. Real value boils down to insights, visibility, and providing systems to leverage data and identify which agencies deliver to their mandates and which do not.
When agency and brand focus on leveraging spend against tangible data, both benefit. And, this is where you want the data to take you to a space where you can ensure your agency is using your spend in a way that exceeds your value expectations.
Lifting the data lid
Transparency around spend visibility has become something of a commodity. If an agency offers a high level of spend visibility, then the metrics to measure their performance tend to change. Many agencies will share their cost and deliverables, but those that are more transparent are more likely to share a breakdown of detailed data. To leverage data, each line is invaluable to translating spend into value and results over the long term.
That said, measurement is also dependent on focus. You need data to focus on areas of performance that are important to the business and highlights the spaces where you need to improve performance. It’s about connecting the dots across agency and spend, connecting insight to the outcome, and ensuring that spend aligns with your perception of value and a measurable return on investment.
With the right level of data at your fingertips, you gain relevant insights into spending to assess agency performance and ensure that you are making the right budgeting decisions. This data is designed to wipe away the veil of mystery that often surrounds spend versus results, and provides brands and agencies with the visibility they both need to transform performance and capability.
Success lies in the hands of the data, the numbers and reporting show how budget is used, whether or not it’s maximised effectively, and how to improve further.
But, let’s not forget, not all data is created equal, and not all solutions can translate the data to deliver clarity and improve overall decision making. Our clients often tell us how invaluable they find our solutions. They want the confidence to challenge their spend using insights that make these questions relevant and purposeful.
We believe this is the power to leverage data – its ability to connect insights to results and help agencies and brands build relationships on trusted and transparent foundations that ultimately deliver better results.
Agencies will undoubtedly be working hard to maximise your budget and meet your expectations, but here are our top tips to getting even more bang for your buck…
- Not all deliverables are created equal – agree on your deliverables, but decide on the definition of a deliverable so that you’re all on the same page and there is no questioning down the line. Project creep can often come from simple misunderstandings. Ensure you’re requesting detailed descriptions, including quantities, types and specifications of everything you are expecting your agency to deliver against your scope of work.
- Align resources to requirements – assess your staffing plans against cost and staff seniority levels and departmental mix. Benchmarking against the market to ensure you’re getting value before the project even starts. Don’t be afraid to question staffing allocation to understand projected allocations of who is doing what, when and why.
- Evaluate successes – monitor and track performance against your defined KPIs. Develop a process for reconciling agency hours against expectations. Highlight any discrepancies and have open communication to understand changes and the impact on the overall project.