More than half of marketers in a recent survey said they think it’s “very important” for agencies to have a good understanding of a client’s business. Remarkably though, only 2% felt they actually do.
Wow! That’s a tremendous gap between expectations and perceived performance. And if you believe that greater knowledge drives better performance, the impact of that gap will undoubtedly impact the quality of an agency’s work.
So why does this gap exist and who’s to blame? Is it the agency’s fault? Or, the client’s? We believe some of the fault lies on both sides.
As a marketer, you might want to consider:
- Do you encourage your agency to commit the necessary time to dig deeper and learn more about your business? Or, are you bidding out every project on the basis of price–in spite of whatever performance and knowledge an agency has demonstrated in the past?
- Are you giving the agency enough attention to help them acquire the appropriate knowledge? Are there ways you could be more supportive?
- Are you open to new, unsolicited ideas from the agency regarding your business?
- Do you share performance data such as website analytics, sales reports and feedback from various sources?
- Are you encouraging the agency to gain greater education, such as attending seminars that pertain to your business? What about offering to compensate them for at least some of the time involved? It should be a worthwhile investment.
- Does your agency account manager have marketing capability and maybe even some client-side experience? If so, are you open to his or her advice?
- Have you shared your sales and business objectives with the agency and explained how you regularly track progress? In other words, have you attempted to involve them in your progress toward achieving your goals?
For agencies, have you thought about:
- Putting a knowledge development program in place to achieve better understanding of your client’s business? Have you requested your client’s help in this regard?
- Being proactive in recommending research, so that everyone involved has the opportunity to learn more about important factors such as customer perceptions and purchasing criteria?
- Whether your account management has the necessary marketing experience and skills to relate effectively to your client’s goals?
- Rotating people on the account less frequently, so that each has an opportunity to close the knowledge gap?
A little extra effort and understanding from both agencies and clients could make a remarkable improvement in the quality of the advertising.