There are over 100 agency selection consultants in the US helping companies conduct agency reviews. Yet, some clients keep their agency for decades with no review, even in the face of procurement department mandates to RFP all business regularly. What causes agency relationships to fail — causing setbacks, delays, missed goals and lost budget for health brands? We’ve identified three things:
1. Agencies are often not good at project management
While many agencies are very good at being idea-driven, they aren’t always the best with project management. Today’s marketing requires lots of technical implementation from tracking to reporting. Whereas agencies used to just interface with the head of marketing as a client, now they must invite and communicate with IT, finance and web development for campaigns. This level of complex project management is a separate discipline from coming up with great ads, and it isn’t something that your business signed up to take on either.
Make sure when you are interviewing agencies that you understand how their teams are set up and who is responsible for what, so no one is chasing down the other to keep up with projects that are ongoing or need to be completed.
2. ROI, not just branding, is mandatory
Getting help branding your business is obviously extremely helpful, but that alone is not enough to help you reach your marketing and client acquisition goals. Most agencies in America don’t understand the intricacies of tracking, measuring, reporting and optimizing.
This means advertising effort is too far removed from generating predictable ROI. To overcome this challenge, you may want to have a superstar analyst on your team, or make sure that you fully trust the agency you work with to understand how ROI works, as well as how to report it to you for transparency.
3. Agencies are too aligned to their billing method
When agencies are too stuck to their hourly billing method, this requires cycle times of estimating, signoff etc. This is literally friction and delay. The new world of digital marketing requires speed and nimbleness. Timesheets and “job orders” are too old school for today’s agile marketing methods. This friction results in clients getting frustrated with their agencies. An agency that is more flexible and understands that today’s digital marketing may require a bit more leeway is one that will help ease these tensions.
BONUS: Agencies are tactic-focused
Many agencies have their specific marketing tactics that they are focused on and specialize in. But focusing especially on only search, social, or direct mail doesn’t help your overall marketing strategy.
Only a few agencies are industry focused. Focusing on, say, Travel or Health as categories allows agencies to see lots of clients and help many clients trying to serve and sell to the same market — travelers or health seekers. This gives them more customer knowledge to help their client in a more relevant way to their specific business.
Stop being frustrated with your agency
We understand the frustrations with certain agencies, and that the agency-client relationship needs to change with the times. If you are aware of these cons, and know how to effectively communicate your needs, you will have a better chance at finding an agency who can truly help you succeed with your health marketing.