The marketing agency partnership can be draining and rewarding. You’ve got a lot of projects in the air and only two hands with which to keep them aloft: one hand being the performance and the other being the partnership itself.
We’ve learned that for an agency partnership to succeed, there needs to be close coordination and communication between both parties. Free exchange of information, clear policies on specific scenarios, and the sharing of resources whenever possible.
Historically, this level of agency partnership was difficult to come by. The Internet is riddled with agency horror stories, and you could probably add a few of your own.
Part of the problem was that agencies controlled the flow of information for the projects they managed. It was up to them to measure and track the success of their campaigns, and then pass those numbers on to you.
For a while that was fine. However, as marketing evolved to include more detailed performance metrics, it’s important that your agency and your internal team are on the same page along what’s important and what’s reported. For instance, is there is a flow of information into historical performance and a context into what will be most important over the next 6-12 months?
Software in innately capable of bridging this gap in an agency partnership. By not giving the agency access to the same tools you use, you hamstring their efforts and make it more difficult for them to give you the best service possible.
Here are a few ways of using marketing analytics software can improve your agency partnership by leaps and bounds (and not just on the reporting side).
Use software to set clear KPIs
Remember what I said earlier about the agency not homing in on the right metrics? Well, you can avoid that issue entirely by giving them access to a marketing or social media analytics tool you’ve set up for your own internal purposes. This assumes, of course, that you’ve already done your due diligence and chosen the right analytics tool for your organization.
Because you already own this tool, it should already be configured to display information you find most important. The data it generates could also be plugged into any formulas and macros you use to generate other reports. You have the advantage of working with a tool that you’re already familiar with, while the agency gets the advantage of using a tool that generates information they’re sure the client values.
Once you’ve granted them the appropriate level of access, you can now define an achievable goal for the agency to target based on clear and quantifiable KPIs that you’ve chosen. This gets you both on the same page in terms of performance expectations and removes any confusion as to what you define as a success.
Simplifying agency partnership communication
One byproduct of successful agency partnerships is the focus on both planning and action, with an emphasis on action. We hear all to often about the circuitous nature of planning conversations with a lack of drive towards an agreed upon goal.
Using your existing marketing analytics software, however, completely removes the need for the dreaded “check-in” meetings, and points of discussion in several others, because the data is available to anyone at any time. It is much simpler for people on both sides to keep tabs on a campaign’s progress. Just log into the tool and check the numbers.
Accurate, unfiltered information
Unfortunately, we are also aware that some agencies are more concerned with looking good than helping you succeed. They’ll fudge campaign performance numbers with the intention of making sure that their work, not your work, looks good. They might even just be trying to avoid getting in trouble when their expensive campaign falls flat on its face.
Whatever the reason, in this kind of agency partnership it’s easy for the agency to deceive you if there isn’t open and transparent communication between teams and platforms. After all, you both have access to the same data and will be more familiar with the tool than they, so it will be more effort for them to mislead you.
Instant response to new data
Picture this scenario: you’ve just released a social media campaign. Your initial reception is lukewarm, and to all appearances it looks like a failure. But then interest spikes from one particular segment: a customer group you’ve never really paid attention to before. Excited by this discovery, you pivot this campaign to target the interested group, and metrics soar.
This kind of scenario can only happen if both parties have easy and timely access to the data. Without it, the client company would have to wait until the next update meeting to learn about the hidden segment.
Sharing the same platform gives you the ability to instantly detect new developments, whether positive or negative, and give you enough lead time to formulate a proper response. And since both agency and client are working off the same data, there are more chances for anomalies to be detected and less time wasted on getting people up to speed.
You don’t actually need to share your marketing analytics tool with your agency. Agency partnerships have existed for decades without this kind of capability, and they ran just fine.
But in today’s fast-paced, data-centric market, there are clear advantages to plugging your agency into your marketing analytics process. Your agency can prioritize the right KPIs, work off the same data you receive, and respond faster to campaign results. Ultimately, this will lead to a stronger partnership for both teams.
You, in turn, benefit by having deeper insight into your agency’s efforts, simpler lines of communication, and have a more integrated and intimate relationship with your agency partner. In this situation, you’re no longer two separate hands that happen to be working at the same time, but rather two coordinated parts of the same body.