Translated across the professional spectrum, it can be considered the core operating principle of any given company. An ethos can offer a tangible viewpoint into a business’s approach to revenue generation, operating integrity, personnel development and client partnerships.
For agency/client relationships specifically, it can be key to unlocking what will translate into a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship. Here is a checklist of 10 distinguishing characteristics to look for when evaluating an agency partner:
1. Ability To Ignite Growth: Look to see if the agency has a proven ability to not only scale your media spend but to do it profitably. Questions to the agency should focus on their current client list and the client’s tenure with the agency. Questions could include: Do you have use cases highlighting how much you’ve grown some of your client’s budgets since taking over the account? Were you able to hit their profitability goals while scaling? What were the campaign strategies you employed to achieve your success?
2. Expertise: Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many agencies have a “full service” offering even though they can only do one or two things well. Although having fragmented agencies can be cumbersome, it can pay large dividends in terms of growth and profitability. What is the agency’s breadth and depth of knowledge of a specific media type and your vertical? Do they make a traditionally complex process easier for you?
3. Performance Marketing Mindset: It’s one thing to have the ability to buy media at scale. But a true differentiator is an agency’s ability to buy media at scale while hitting the client’s goals. Does the agency have your best interest in mind when it comes to profitability? Will they recommend to not buy certain media if they don’t think it will be profitable for you (at the expense of their own commission)? Do they continuously try to cross-sell you services that won’t meet your revenue or profitability criteria?
4. Analytics And Data Expertise: Data reigns supreme. Does the agency have an internal center for client and market data analytics, business analytics, customer analytics, media channel analytics and/or attribution analytics?
5. Thought Leadership: Does the agency have strong visibility into the future of media buying and advertising, keeping you ahead of your competitors and the advertising curve? Are they driving the conversation within the media ecosystem they’re experts in? Does this thought leadership lead to creative ideas in monetizing your campaigns in the most effective manner possible?
6. Creativity: How often is the agency bringing new, big and creative ideas to the table (i.e., media buying, copy, frequency, approach, data analysis)?
7. Strong Industry Relationships: Are they an influencer of the influencers? A key cog and partner of the media networks, influencers, software vendors, etc.? Do these deep connections potentially translate to competitive pricing and the ability to adjust campaigns on the fly if something needs to be changed immediately?
8. Attentive Account Management: Do you feel that your account manager is an “A” player even if you’re not an enterprise-level client? Do they fully understand your goals and vertical? Are they there for you in a timely and authoritative fashion?
9. Nimbleness: In today’s real-time and data-centric ad marketplace, clients need to shift dollars quickly based on the real-time results that are flowing in. It’s important that your agency partner has the ability to meet your changing needs quickly.
10. Integrity: Is your agency being honest with you? Do they offer transparency into the media invoices, their commissions, billing process, etc.? Do you know exactly what you’re paying for and why? Ensure you choose an agency that truly takes a client-side approach and acts as if your money is theirs.
Although some of these characteristics may challenge conventional agency wisdom (i.e., transparent billing, recommendations of when not to spend on media), it’s important that the agency leading you into the future isn’t taking a suboptimal approach to your growth and success.
As the media and advertising ecosystem continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it will be important for clients to ensure they choose greatness versus choosing “just good enough” to ensure the long-term vitality of your business.
See original article here: Good Is The Killer Of Great: Evaluating Your Agency Partners