Regardless of how much you are spending on digital media, and whether that’s through multiple agencies or just one, there should be more to the service you are receiving than bid management.
These three tips will help you address and improve your relationship with your agencies to ensure you are getting the most out of your fee, and ultimately your media spend.
1. Facilitate insight sharing between your agencies
So your Programmatic agency has just run a wildly successful branding campaign (i.e. invented the wheel), but your Search agency are spending hours running analysis and formulating a strategy to improve brand performance (i.e. re-inventing the wheel).
With a decent attribution model it’s possible for agencies to see performance from other channels, but why pay two lots of fees for two teams to come to the same conclusion?
More importantly, the nuances of strategy, messaging, and creatives remain curtained off – unless you encourage knowledge sharing.
Sharing insights allows for more insightful testing, quicker learning, and more proactive management.
That is, your Search team will be able to maximise on valuable traffic created by the Social activity you are running – but only if they are told about it.
A good agency will proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate. Whilst in the short term that might seem like just another meeting to make time for, the impact of getting your teams of experts together can be significant.
If you are running multiple channels through the same agency, you might assume that it’s a given that this will happen behind closed doors. It isn’t.
Check in on your agency and ask to sit in on an insight sharing session to make sure teams aren’t working in isolation.
Not sure what insights would be useful for you? Here are some ideas to get started with:
Most engaged and profitable audiences across channels. Do your Programmatic and Social teams have insights that aren’t being leveraged in Search?
Strongest messaging and creative combinations. Have your Social team proven that consumer response varies significantly by demographic, but Programmatic are blanket testing?
Top performing searches across Organic and Paid Search. Are you spending money through PPC on searches that Organic could be picking up for free?
2. Treat your agencies like an extension of your team
It might be tempting to view your agencies as extra bodies, out-sourced and perhaps out of mind. Or, if performance is bad, as the enemy.
Rest assured, we want you to do well. Every agency team wants to work on accounts with strong performance. If you do well, we do well – and everyone’s lives are much less stressful.
When you hire a new digital marketing agency, we aren’t just a means to an end for improving your revenue, efficiency, or reach. We are an extension of your business.
And, perhaps the most effective way to ensure meaningful results from your agency, is to treat us as such.
What does that mean? For example, if you are launching a new product, if you need to grow your market share in a particular territory, or if you want to double revenue this year, tell your agencies!
This will enable them to put long term plans in place to facilitate your goals as a business, and ensure that you’re all aiming for the same thing – not just an improvement in CPA.
They also ought to be able to tell you whether your aims are currently achievable for their channel, or, if they aren’t, which factors need to change in order to make them possible.
If you don’t currently do this, in the first instance check your agencies’ medium to long term plans and ask yourself: do these line up with our top 3 objectives as a business?
3. Encourage your agencies to automate wherever possible so they have more time for strategy and testing
Embrace automation. When done well, it doesn’t represent a loss of control. Instead, it’ll improve efficiency in your accounts and crucially free up time for your agency teams.
Of course, automated bidding, reporting, and campaign building all require maintenance and aren’t the silver bullet of successful digital marketing.
However, they do undeniably represent the future of campaign management, and the role that you should expect from your agencies.
Rather than spending as much time adjusting individual bids, your agencies should take on more of a consultancy roll – being freerer to strategise, innovate, and test test test within your accounts.
The beauty of outsourcing to an agency is that you will have people working on your account who have constantly evolving, but current, knowledge of different challenges and opportunities across sectors.
That insight is best put to use with formulating ideas on how to improve your accounts and ultimately help your business reach its goals – not on wondering whether 18-24-year-olds on mobiles in London are more or less valuable to you than 35-44s on desktops in Berlin.
You pay good money for the expertise of your agencies and you want to make sure their time is being spent in the most effective ways for your business.
If you give your agencies as much business context as is feasible, treat them as part of your team, and get them together to share knowledge with each other, you’ll begin to really leverage the skills and expertise you are paying for.