Undertaking a regular marketing agency review helps both your brand and your agencies
It’s important to regularly undertake a marketing agency review to ensure that you’re all walking to the beat of the same drum. And to ensure that they support your business as you find new ways to connect with customers in complex times.
Your marketing agency is your portal to the customer dimension. A good agency will create campaigns that reach your objectives, transform your key performance indicators (KPIs), help you navigate the choppy waters of uncertainty, and build solid brand foundations. A great agency will ensure that all these boxes are ticked and work with you to shape the future of your brand. A bad agency won’t get you anywhere, but still comes with the same price tag!
What is the importance of a marketing agency review?
The Forrester CMO Pulse Survey in the last quarter of 2022 found that marketers are looking to reshape their spend as organisations face strong economic headwinds in 2023. This is echoed in the PwC Pulse Survey that emphasised how sensitive CMOs are to business risk and how their priorities are shifting in the current landscape.
The PwC survey found that 37% of CMOs are concerned about meeting customer expectations when it comes to brand, products and services, and listed pricing, changing consumer expectations, customer acquisition and retention, and personalisation, as their most pressing challenges. CMOs also cited return on investment (ROI) as a pressing business priority (48%) and the need to prove that their marketing investments are delivering results.
This is driving the need to consistently invest into tools and processes that reliably assess marketing performance. CMOs have to settle the weight of business responsibility that sits on their shoulders through proven metrics and approaches that ensure every box they tick is worth the ink they use.
CMOs want visibility into agency performance and its ability to support them as they find fresh ways of connecting with customers, navigating the personalisation tightrope, and cutting costs without cutting corners.
A marketing agency review provides both agency and brand with an opportunity to assess performance, balance expectations and create cohesive forward-thinking strategies that are in line with the demands of a fractured market.
Marketing agency review satisfaction lies in transparency
The World Federation of Advertisers study found that 75% of marketers were only ‘somewhat satisfied’ with their agencies and 69% are set to change their agency rosters. The truth is, quite often part of these levels of satisfaction (or lack of) is because the brand is not undertaking regular reviews of their agencies. Both agency and brand can benefit from these reviews to ensure that there’s synergy in the work being created and the expectations of spend v deliverables.
Of course, undertaking an agency review is hard work and time consuming, so how often you do it will depend entirely on your own objectives and processes. However, in our experience, the sweet spot should be once a year as this will ensure both brand and agency have the insights they need to tweak expectations and stay on the same road to success.
Some companies will review every three years or more, the danger here is the constantly shifting market and economic conditions could steer the relationship and expectations off course.
Regular reviews give everyone the opportunity to course correct and move forward with clarity.
There are several ways you can evaluate the performance of your marketing agency.
Marketing Agency Review: Our Tips
We recommend the following key steps :
- The old adage is true: Do they walk the walk? Have they delivered on what they promised at the start of the relationship? Have they worked hard on developing the relationship? Have they addressed any challenges proactively?
- Are you being SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based)? These goals never fall out of favour because they really are key to mapping performance and assessing whether or not the agency is meeting your own expectations across your specific metrics.
- Put the goals on the table. Are you expecting your agency to increase lead generation? Or is it brand awareness? Or is it sales revenue? Your relationship with your agency works both ways. You need to be clear and transparent with them, providing the visibility into your brand goals they need to perform. Without sharing this information, how can you expect them to be on the same page.
- How good is the relationship? As the Association of National Advertisers survey ‘Enhancing Client/Agency Relations’ found back in 2015, 87% of brands want good relationships with their agencies. We know that this hasn’t changed. Soft skills such as relationship building, rapport, brand understanding, and a commitment to transparency and visibility have become key metrics against which agency performance can be measured – because they are so important to a good relationship, and a good relationship is so important to hitting your objectives.
- Use data to provide visibility You need data that helps you to assess performance against niche and unique market expectations and against overall market performance by other agencies in the same niche. This is particularly relevant when working with multiple agencies and each one has a different area of expertise. RightSpend provides brands with highly relevant data and insights across multiple markets, agencies, industries and sectors. It allows brands to see how their spend aligns with other companies in the same space, and potentially make significant savings through more targeted and intelligent spend.
Data is such a huge part of your agency review. The need to deliver ROI on your marketing spend is critical for any business. Without accurate data to measure, compare and track, how can you be sure that you’re getting good value for money?
By reviewing every element of your investment into the agency, from the staffing costs, overheads, profit margin to each of the deliverables, you can essentially build a stronger foundation of trust on which to build your relationship with your agency.
Trust is critical to building long-term relationships, allowing for both brand and agency to overcome significant market complexities, together. And, if both agency and brand have complete visibility into one another’s strategies, KPIs, metrics and performance through measurable and relevant data, then trust comes as standard.
While unpacking the value an agency brings and digging into its performance over a set period of time is almost always about the money, it is important to remember that it is not the only factor. You want an agency that shares your passion, is interested in your success, has a culture that resonates with your own, and delivers results.