The Difference in Working with a Results-Driven Agency
Peruse any marketing agency’s website and you’ll likely find a dazzling portfolio, impressive awards, and lofty claims about their abilities to take businesses to the “next level.” While confidence and reputation are certainly important, none of these things tell companies about the agency’s ability to drive meaningful results.
Discussing client results has become a sort of industry taboo — and why wouldn’t it be? With marketing agencies largely evaluated for their creativity, awards, and reputation, it makes sense that they would avoid any conversation that calls into question the return on investment (ROI) they bring. However, by working with a results-driven agency that’s unafraid to disclose the data behind their work, companies have a better shot at rising through the ranks and achieving their business objectives.
What Companies Look for in a Marketing Agency
When looking for an agency to handle their marketing efforts, companies typically only seek out three qualities: creativity, awards, and reputation. But do these characteristics actually prove the agency’s ability to generate results? Not really.
While creativity is important, marketing professionals that routinely attempt to divert the discussion away from measurable ROI probably aren’t closely tracking campaign performance to better inform their strategy. Vague generalities like “tremendous increase in web traffic” or “really got the name out there” are simply distractions used when the numbers to support these claims are in short supply.
The same goes for awards: Advertising awards are given based on creativity, uniqueness, and usually some politics. While an ADDY might reassure prospective clients of the agency’s creative prowess and award-winning reputation, these trophies don’t actually reward agencies based on the results their marketing efforts earned. Still, these awards are used as justification for hiring one marketing agency over another despite the fact that they lack the substance to support any measurable gain to their clients.
What Companies Need in a Marketing Agency
Rather than working with a marketing agency with the most awards or largest repertoire of noteworthy clients, companies need agencies that are results-driven. That means seeking out agencies that aren’t afraid to support their claims through measurable data. The benefits of working with such an agency are threefold:
- ROI: Results-driven marketing agencies meticulously track campaign performance, allowing prospective clients to see the potential ROI in working together prior to signing a contractual agreement.
- Dedication: Marketing agencies prioritizing results oftentimes are more dedicated to their clients, actively learning new skills and developing new services to deliver business-minded solutions.
- Relationships: Rather than approaching each ad campaign with the same creative gusto that earned them their latest award, results-driven agencies take time to build meaningful relationships with their clients in order to better understand their business objectives and deliver custom-tailored campaigns.
If companies are content to spend thousands on marketing efforts that earn little more than a vanity award in their agency’s trophy case, any advertising agency will do. But if measurable ROI, commitment, and long-lasting relationships are the ultimate goal, companies need to trade their traditional agencies in for one that prioritizes results.
Warning Signs that an Agency is Not Results-Driven
There are a few red flags that indicate that an agency is not results-driven that companies should consider before entering into a relationship with a marketing agency:
- If the agency does not provide transparent reporting. Reporting should go out at regular intervals and should include the work that was conducted on the client’s behalf.
- If the agency does not define objectives prior to the engagement. Simply agreeing to spend a certain allotment of hours working on an account is not indicative of a results driven agency. What are the goals? How is success measured?
- Using qualitative data instead of quantitative data in reports. If the agency does not use quantitative data in their reporting (impressions and reach, clicks, conversions, etc) you will likely be paying for opinions and not results.
- Gawdy claims without the references, case studies, and reviews to back them up.
Be certain to ask questions about how your agency reports on their efforts and how the success of your campaigns will be measured prior to engaging with the firm. Ask for examples of reporting sent to clients, even if the data is not from a real account (for confidentiality sake) you should be able to see the format that the reports are delivered and understand how the data will be presented. Be sure to look over case studies and reviews prior to making a final decision on an agency and don’t be afraid to ask for references.