Is your marketing agency having their cake and eating it?

As a marketer you don’t wake up in the morning and think ‘Hey my agency could be doing, this, that or the other better’ These things normally come to light when something ‘big’ goes wrong – or even worse when you are getting heat from above about the lack of results.

The problem many marketing managers have is that they quite ‘like’ the agency they work with, the account management is good, they feel valued, and they like the person they deal with on a day-to-day basis – however they are normally aware that the agency is not great at certain disciplines and take the view that no agency can be great at everything. It is like when dining out and the menu has so many mouth-watering dishes to choose from, you need to take stock and think, how can the chef possibly cook all these meals perfectly?

However, being a data geek, putting the relationship to one side and looking at purely numbers, you have to realise that this attitude is leading marketers to waste over 40% of their marketing budget.  They are paying for a variety of marketing activities, and only getting expertise on some disciplines.

How to select the best marketing agency to work with and questions you SHOULD be asking!

 It is worth asking your agency – “Hey, I love working with you guys, but as an agency where do you shine?” ask for an open honest answer and use that relationship you hold in such high regard.  I am sure that the answer won’t be entirely news to you. Ask what services they have won awards for, or what they get excited about. Perhaps they will rave about design and social media campaigns but what about content and PR or digital disciplines such as SEO or PPC (which can be costly, and should be your biggest lead gen source).  Just because they list it on their website, doesn’t mean they do it well. Find the award-winning answer and use them for that service.

I know this seems obvious, but it is easy to become complacent, and dare I say lazy, because we are all busy being busy – but to choose an agency to handle all your digital marketing needs because you really like the websites they design or the social campaigns they run is like asking your friend to do your wedding catering because they make a good lasagne!

Marketing disciplines are continually evolving and you need experts to work together bringing their own expertise and experience.  You want best in class capability for each and every channel and by definition, no agency can be best-in-class in everything.

A recipe for success

Awareness is the first step towards change, and this doesn’t mean you have to sack your existing agency who know your brand style and tone, and understand the way in which you like to work.  Simply make them your lead agency and ask them to work with specialist agencies to deliver the best results possible for your campaign.

You may even be doing your agency a favour by reducing the budget you spend with them. They wouldn’t want to lose your entire account because they could not deliver to a high enough standard on a particular discipline.  Get specialist agencies working together, combining expertise and sharing ideas on your behalf.

The results can be phenomenal, working with multiple agencies is not a nightmare of managing ego’s and relationships. They talk to each other, they each manage their own specialist disciplines and you get not just one agency, but several promoting your business and making it grow.

It’s time to tantalize your taste buds!

Ensure the marketing budget that you have been entrusted with is working as hard as possible. I appreciate that you may be doing all of the above, in that case, pat yourself on the back, but sometimes stating the obvious is the only way to see what is going on right under your nose.

It’s not that you are doing anything wrong per say, because your original agency may have ticked the boxes of all the services that you require, but what is harder to determine is some services have a great big green tick next them and others were barely visible.

My takeaway piece of advice is: find agencies for all the services that you need, so you can put great big green ticks next to all of them, and encourage them to play nice – at the end of the day, we all want to manage successful award winning campaigns and we would rather lose some of your business than all of it.  Challenge your agency to make you their next award-winning case study – after all a bit of friendly competition never hurts!