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Client: Agency relationships

Agencies and clients may be bright-eyed, and bushy tailed at the start of their relationship, but life often gets in the way.

People leave, strategies evolve and budgets change, depending on business performance. All of which can affect the quality of the work and the relationships that underpin the partnership.
That’s where performance measurement can help. Because it helps advertisers identify problems before they become an issue, isolate trouble spots by specialism or team and can trigger remedial action. Importantly, it also helps them celebrate great work.

Of course, relationship management should be in place right from the start rather than being a reaction to a vague sense that “something’s not quite right” but whenever you start there are clear business benefits.
These include:

  • The ability to track progress, provide a benchmark and analyse Return on Investment;
  • Provide evidence of improvement – to underpin the RoI of the pitch;
  • Identifies problems before they become serious; and
  • Provides an incentive for celebrating and rewarding agency partners.

This is illustrated by our experience of working with an energy client to remodel their performance measurement systems.

What was in place was an academic, time-consuming system of monitoring that ran across their business divisions twice a year. The findings revealed the ‘state of the nation’ but little else.

The process made it highly complex to ‘track’ performance and provided little indication of how the agencies involved were performing relative to industry benchmarks.

Our solution was to introduce them to a new performance measurement tool, blending qualitative and quantitative data to provide consistency of reporting and measurement across their business.

This enabled us to conduct 360º measurement across four regions, three business units and two agency sectors – Creative and Media – involving around 300 stakeholders.

The results have been hugely beneficial providing clear indications of issues with specific agencies in key markets much more immediately than previously providing basis for action plans to resolve them.

The use of commentary in the responses also allows the context of any relationship to be described and understood.

Data can for the first time be broken down to demonstrate key differences in performance levels by team, region and agency.

The end result is that the lead stakeholders at both agency and client are able to see where their challenges lie, while the client can spot the best performing relationships and see if there is scope to export best practice to other markets or regions.

Even the greatest relationships go through some ups and downs and being able to identify where and when issues are arising as soon as possible is a vital part of the marketers’ toolkit.

However long they have been working with their agency partners, marketers find accurate and impartial data that can be analysed and broken down by office, brand or region an essential aide to incremental improvement.

And most importantly for both sides, it helps keep the relationship on the road and gives it the best possible chance for a long and happy partnership.

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