We all want the best value from our business partnerships, but how do you know if they’re truly delivering value?
A good marketing agency will be transparent when it comes to reporting your results, you should never be uncertain whether they’re providing value or not.
So, to help you determine whether your current agency is delivering, we’ve put together this handy guide on what you should expect, and how you can determine whether or not your investment is paying off.
Are you working to clear goals and metrics?
Are the goals you’ve set with your marketing agency clear, quantifiable and realistic?
The goals you set and the metrics you measure shouldn’t be plucked from thin air – they should be mapped to your organisational goals.KPIs may include: increased website traffic, improved lead generation, boosted conversion rates, increased brand awareness or social media engagement.
Assess whether your agency’s activities align with your overall marketing and business strategy. Your agency should ask something along the lines of: ‘What does success look like to you?’ If you don’t set clear expectations, your agency might think they’re doing a great job, but in reality are not aligned with what it is you actually need.
Their efforts should always be in line with your brand’s values and long-term goals.
Does your agency communicate well?
Open and regular communication with your agency is essential. Poor communication leads to frustration, and also makes it incredibly difficult to know whether your campaigns are proving successful.
They should work on consistent lines of communication, whether that be weekly or fortnightly meetings, they should be set based on your requirements and should provide regular updates on their activities, campaign performance, and progress towards your goals. Make sure you’re comfortable with the frequency and quality of communication.
Also consider how they communicate – do they make the process easy, is it consistent and do you have visibility on the progress of your marketing campaigns? To help improve communication at Catalyst, we use a cloud-based project management tool. This allows our clients to log in and see the progress of their campaigns at any time they want. It also helps us keep everything nice and organised!
If your agency isn’t communicating properly, then chances are they’re trying to hide something.
Are you seeing regular performance reports and analytics?
Your agency should provide detailed performance reports that highlight key metrics, trends, and insights. These reports should be transparent and easy to understand; they should give the context behind the metrics – they’re no use to you if they’re filled with jargon and rubbish!
Reports need to clearly outline what the metrics mean, what learnings about the market they have made and what actions they will take ongoing.
What data is delivered should be pre-defined and mutually agreed on at the start of the relationship to ensure your goals are kept in mind at every stage of the marketing process.
Analysing these reports will help you see the impact of their efforts on your business.
We recommend monthly reporting. If your agency reports monthly, holds monthly meetings with you and remains transparent throughout, you’ll have a much better idea of the value they’re providing.
Evaluate your agency based on ROI
You’d want to know your return on any investment, why should marketing be any different?
Calculate the revenue generated from their campaigns and compare it to the costs of their services. Are they providing an ROI on lead generative activities?
Do bear in mind – if your agency is focusing on brand building over direct lead generation, the ROI may be a little less tangible. Also, there are a few elements that are an initial investment, such as a new brand, proposition and website, so focus on ROI should come once lead generation has started in earnest.
However, if they’re a commercially-focused marketing agency, like we are, then they should be making a tangible difference and helping drive warm leads that are ready to convert.
How good are the leads they’re generating?
Quality is far more important than quantity in marketing.
Your agency could be generating 1000s of poor leads, but then you’ll be running around like busy fools.
Fewer, higher quality leads are always preferable. We always push for closed-loop reporting, meaning that we don’t just look at what opportunities have been generated, but also whether they’re the right quality and, most importantly, whether they’re closing or not.
If they’re not closing, they’re probably not the right leads.
This is why we always stress the importance of understanding what a good lead looks like before marketing gets involved. For example, if you’re after larger clients, the approach would be different to if you wanted lots of smaller clients. Identify your target audience and let your agency know exactly what you’re after.
Are their strategies innovative and effective?
A valuable agency should bring fresh and innovative ideas to the table. They should adapt strategies based on industry trends and the changing behaviour of your target audience.
Not only this, but they should also be willing to admit when something doesn’t work.
Marketing is, in many ways, trial and error. Sometimes you need to try something out to see if it works in your industry and unique situation, although this can be minimised by doing the proper due diligence. .
It’s great to innovate here, but it’s also essential that your agency is consistently assessing success and changing their approach to keep things as effective as possible. If they’re not adjusting, they’re not providing value.
Finally, do they accommodate your changing needs?
As your business grows and changes, so, too, do your needs (and potentially your budget).
A good agency will work closely with you to establish how tactics need to change to meet your needs/changes in your industry.
We often see agencies that are stuck in their ways and unable to adapt. Your agency should be flexible and adaptable to adjust strategies and tactics when necessary. This includes times of budgetary change – they should be prepared for whatever happens, both budget increases and decreases.
Time to upgrade? Talk to Catalyst
Change can be difficult, especially if you’ve been working with a marketing agency for a long time.
Unfortunately, sometimes agencies get complacent, or things change as your relationship develops.
If your agency isn’t delivering the value that they used to, then it’s time to switch to Catalyst.
We’re a commercially focused digital agency who focus on delivering tangible results through highly tailored marketing strategies.
We get to know each and every one of our clients, getting under the skin of their business. Consider us your new marketing department.
The first step is organising a quick chat. Tell us what you need and we’ll let you know how we can help.