Daily Archives: June 30, 2016

Best Practices for Agency Evaluations for Strong Client-Agency Relationships

A good agency evaluation process helps marketers improve their return on
marketing investment through better relationship management, which translates into more high-quality work at a faster output and with improved quality results.

Richard Benyon, DecideWare
Surging Ahead, ANA Magazine, June 2016

But what is a good evaluation process?

Let’s start with what marketers do now. When evaluating an agency or a potential agency, marketers collect data and then apply that information to attempt to make better decisions in agency selection using a four-step process.

  1. Identify whether or not the agency has top talent.
  2. Optimize to ensure the talent is working in the most efficient and effective manner.
  3. Then, depending on the situation, fix problems or reward success.
  4. Work to improve their processes to enable the agency to do their best work.

This is a great process, but, as Richard says, before creating a new relationship or extending an existing one, it’s extremely important to have a clear purpose as to why an agency is being evaluated and what the evaluation should achieve. As Richard says, before beginning an evaluation, marketers need to understand:

  • how they will wunderstand agency strengths and areas for improvement,
  • how they will enable the agency to do its best work, and
  • how the evaluation program will be used as a component of incentive compensation.

A good relationship, like a good Procurement Value Engine, is effective (and uses agency strengths), efficient (and enables the agency to do its best work), and sustainable (and incentivizes the agency to continue to do its best work as time goes on).

In addition, it supports the strategic goals of the marketing department — which should be known before the evaluation process begins to make sure the organization knows which strengths and processes will best support the evaluation.

This means that it’s critical to ask the right questions in an evaluation — questions that will deliver actionable information relevant to the assessment at hand. Designing these questionaries is not easy. Not only do the needs of all departments interacting with the agency need to be met, but the questions needs to be focussed with respect to the strategic goals.

So how do you balance the needs with respect to the goals without overloading the agency with meaningless questions and useless work?

As Richard puts it, you need to be

  • lean,
  • impactful,
  • relevant,
  • consistent, and
  • reflective.

And, of course, get the timing right. What does this mean? And how do you do that? That’s the focus of Richard’s latest article by Richard Benyon on Surging Ahead. Check it out.