Is It Time to Fire Your Interactive Agency?10.15.2010
By Andrew Womack
You couldn’t be happier with your agency.
Everyone agrees they deliver impeccable work. For years now you’ve depended on them, and through all that time they’ve never let you down, they’ve always been prompt to meet your requests — and to be honest, they’re not exactly a burden on your budget. You couldn’t imagine any reason you’d want to change the relationship now.
But could it be better?
Take a moment to ask yourself: Are you getting the most you possibly can out of your marketing? Look beyond face value — are you getting concrete results? And even though you and your agency may feel good about the work, are you achieving your business objectives?
Though the toughest question of all may be: How can you tell? Here are some key indicators you should seek out to find your answers.
How often do you view results?
Marketing results won’t magically appear. Throughout campaign management, your agency must adhere to a rigorous pattern of testing, measuring, and refining your marketing tactics. At regular intervals, you should see their progress as they make their way toward reaching your desired objectives.
Don’t expect to see results overnight — the process takes time. But it also takes dedication. And if you’re not seeing it on a consistent basis, then you and your agency aren’t learning how to predict what’s around the corner and establish a path of continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement requires continuous examination. Does your frequency of review assure continuous improvement?
Using The Measured Approach, Tocquigny reduced this online health insurance provider's average cost per lead by 81% in five weeks.
Your goals must steer your agency’s decisions. But how specific is your agency when discussing your marketing progress? Consider hearing each of the following statements during a check-in:
- "We're on track to achieve your business goals.”
- "We've reached 1,200 of your 2,000 desired leads, and are on track to reach your remaining 800 leads by the end of this quarter.”
While the latter statement is specific and reassuring, the first is vague and should raise concerns. Specificity signals ownership, intention, and an ever-present knowledge that guides the marketing tactics your agency proposes and how vigilant they are while managing your campaigns.
You must also address whether you or your agency is leading discussions around your results. If you’re absent from a meeting, are you ever happily surprised to find out how far they’ve moved the ball forward? Unchecked progress is an indicator of the relationship’s value.
Does your agency ever tell you "no?"
Does your agency push back when they believe your requests aren’t in your best interest?
When you and your agency trust each other as equals who are dedicated to your business objectives, it creates a space for constructive conversations to flourish. That’s where you’ll find your most valuable marketing partner — as well as results that exceed all expectations.
What have you and your agency learned?
The best of all possible agency relationships is one in which your agency shares your insatiable desire to understand how your marketing performs and improve your results.
This will be evident in how your agency interacts with you. Are they open to trying new methods? Are they always pushing to a new horizon?
A continuous process of testing, measuring, and refining should produce significant insights. However, insights are worthless without action. To derive their ultimate benefit, they must be applied to future marketing efforts.
So you should ask yourself: What have I learned and what was it worth? If you can’t pinpoint any actionable learnings from the past six months, there’s an issue with your agency relationship. If there were no learnings, then there wasn’t adequate testing. And if there were learnings but no action was taken, you’ve missed serious opportunities for improvement and newfound efficiencies.
- Consider the year-over-year results Tocquigny created for one of its clients: In 2009, our client’s $700,000 investment drove $18 million in sales.
- Halfway into 2010, our client’s $350,000 investment has driven $17 million in sales.
As you can see, the benefits of continuous improvement are both exponential and vital to your success.
Does your agency ever make you nervous?
Nervous is good. You’ve hired your interactive agency to push the envelope further than you ever could have imagined. Though you may feel the need to rein them back in, your agency should be bringing you ideas that bend the limits of what’s possible in the realm of marketing technology. When you get nervous, it’s because you’re seeing something that you — and your competitors — have never seen before. You could be witnessing a game-changer.
Your agency should be presenting ideas of that caliber and consistently be moving toward securing your objectives.
If not, you know what you have to do.
Tocquigny is nationally recognized as a top-tier interactive agency serving global brands with creative branding and A Measured Approach™ to interactive. With an extensive breadth of services, Tocquigny can harness the latest trends and technologies in social, interactive, direct response and mobile marketing. Founded by Yvonne Tocquigny in 1980, the agency is propelled by innovation, proven methodologies and hands-on leadership. Tocquigny has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
Still not sure about the future of your agency relationship?