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How to avoid the "paradox of agency measurement" and win the trust of customers

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For decades, marketers have been asking for better analysis and data to judge both the performance of their campaigns and their partners. Agencies listen – but do they do the right things?

The current hype to prove the return on investment has led many agencies to start using attribution models to measure the digital, but the results of the numerical attribution are often misleading. Other agencies have developed proprietary blending models to help prove their success.

But when the agency produces good publicity and makes its own measurements, it faces a Catch-22.

The "paradox of agency measurement"

Dave Gantman, a wise agency executive, shared with me what he called "The Agency Measurement Paradox." According to his experience – and many of us have also found – when agencies share performance indicators. a goal of return on investment, the customer believes that the data is accurate. Sharing bad news helps the agency gain credibility.

Yet when agencies share performance measures showing that the campaign is beating ROI targets, customers are more likely to be questionable. Skeptical marketers consider the statistics to be selfish for the agency, thereby dismissing indicators that show the agency's good work.

The customer may even doubt the veracity of the agency. It is precisely for this reason, according to Gantman, that the most important partner of a good agency is independent measurement.

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But I do not want to mention the first reason why agencies should not measure their own results. Quite simply, customers do not want their agency to do it.

Nearly all marketers, or 97%, in an investigation of the Association of National Advertisers, indicated that they preferred the measurement by a third party. As Mike Eichorst, a recently retired Citibank SVP, said:

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"Each part of our business is independently measured and held accountable for delivering the agreed results, there is a clear need to have the same level of confidence in the performance of our agencies. win together and quickly find ways to improve our performance.The independent measurement makes this possible. "

Transparency issues are real for marketers. The questions that marketers ask about the motivations of their agency – especially when they have multiple agencies and that one offers to measure others – are genuine. The proverbial "fox guarding the henhouse" painted the agency as having dubious grounds.

But let's take a situation where the motives are 100% in the interest of the marketer, regardless of the income or profits of the agency. Gantman, who has spent most of his career in agency research and has reached the level of general manager, grabs the solution to the paradox when he says, "The best resource of a good agency. advertising is an independent measurement provider. "

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This quote is compelling for me because I found that agency relationships are strengthened through a close but independent partnership with measurement companies.

How to strengthen customer confidence

So, how can an agency avoid this fox-and-hen house situation? Here are five suggestions to solve the problem and build customer confidence:

1. Transparency is Key – Develop partnerships with measurement companies that commit to understanding business objectives and ensuring full transparency. You want to know how they measure, what data they have, and perhaps what data may be missing.

2. Find Independent Validation – No matter who can say that they are good. Look for partners whose measurement solutions and processes have been validated by independent third parties. For example, participants in Forrester's recent "Measurement & Optimization Wave" wave all independently validated their methods by marketers.

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3. Look for Speed ​​ – It's a world of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and modern marketers need solutions that give them a lot of flexibility to respond to a constantly changing market. You will probably want to find a partner who can offer optimization in the campaign with direct links to your agency's purchasing systems.

And make sure the ideas, solutions and plans provided by your measurement company are achievable. With speed, the agency has the opportunity to improve. Without speed, all that the agency gets is a retrospective report card, with no chance of improving the score.

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4. Being agile help – You are going to need a quick and efficient process to activate the measurement for your clients. Find a partner with which connections to your multimedia systems, such as digital newspapers and the Data Management Platform (DMP), can be configured once and then reused for future engagement.

Select a partner that will help to make the customer integration process transparent by providing the agency with a rate card for the use of its service, a standard pitch game and answers frequently asked questions.

5. Commitment to Implementation – Turning results into ideas that boost higher-level performance can be an important opportunity to increase agency revenue. In addition to advancing a client's business, things learned can be applied to other clients in your portfolio.

A good measurement partner will also allow your agency to conduct more "testing and learning" to create more value for the marketer.

In the end, I firmly believe that modern agencies are eager to find the tools they need to prove the value that they bring to their customers. They are also interested in finding solutions that work and learning ideas that do not work. It is only with these ideas that agencies will find competitive advantages for their clients and themselves.

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Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.

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