8 Signs you need a new media agency

In agency-client relationships, Q4 marks the time to have “the conversation.” You know the uncomfortable conversation when you must ask big questions, like Where are we going? Is this still working for us? Is the spark still alive? Hopefully, your media agency is all ears and will re-commit to growth, optimization, and taking your brand to new heights. But if they’re distracted and complacent, it may be time to move on. Having doubts about your agency, but not sure it’s time to start looking for a new one? Here are eight signs you might need a new ad agency.

1. Your Agency Touts the Wrong Metrics

If your ad/media agency is puffing its chest and bragging about how their last ad lit up the call center, drove a huge spike in web traffic or earned a school of Facebook followers, it’s only doing 10 percent of the job. You hired them to help the drive sales. Sometimes even bad advertising can drive calls or web traffic, but great advertising gets conversions, hits KPI goals, and generates real ROI.

2. They Don’t A/B Split Test

Even the greatest ad creative is born with a small, imperceptible hole. Like a boat at sea, your creative will eventually take on water and sink—unless you optimize. Strengthening copy, artwork and calls-to-action through A/B split testing is the only way to stop the law of advertising entropy and keep your ads afloat. Underperforming agencies will ride good creative ‘til the wheels fall off while great agencies enter their prized creative in the Indy 500 to see who comes out on top.

3. The Agency Lacks Transparency

Transparency means trust, but it’s also the bright neon sign of competency. Your agency should be sharing good and bad results – and not just upon request. You should be able to track your campaigns through detailed reports that show what stations, creative, and media channels are hitting your KPI goals. These reports should be a given, not a privilege.

4. Your Agency Cries “More Frequency!”

If you have experience writing radio ads or TV spots for direct-response, you’ll know it shortly after it airs. If it doesn’t drive any results immediately, no amount of frequency will improve its performance. Looking at your CPL (cost-per-lead) can be a key indicator of this. If your ad completely bombs and your agency wants you to stay on the air to build frequency, it usually means they want to keep raking in their fees. Good direct-response advertising has a sense of urgency that compels your target audience to act NOW, not after they’ve heard a spot 30 times. However, if your ad is at least near 25% of your desired CPL, you may want to heavily monitor how your leads are converting to sales before completely pulling the plug.

5. Your Goals are Not Aligned

Is your ad agency charging steep fees without generating any results? Do they reluctantly listen to your insights and critiques? If your agency’s goal is to rack up large invoices instead of driving conversions, you’re suffering from a major priority misalignment.

6. It’s All About Them

Is your agency producing creative to promote your brand or theirs? The moment your agency comes up with a creative idea they think will “win some awards” your campaign is toast. Agencies that crave the limelight aren’t looking out for your best interests.

7. They’re Stuck in the Past

The media landscape is transforming at breakneck speed and creating new opportunities for brands to target audiences with pinpoint precision. But while forward-thinking agencies are embracing these changes by leveraging people-based marketing, others are struggling to keep up.  If your agency still applies the old-school one-size-fits-most targeting approach that’s based on broad demographics like age range and gender,  it’s time to move on.

8. The Thrill is Gone

Would you hire your agency’s account executive or creative director to work at your company? Do they have the enthusiasm, desire to grow, and commitment needed to take your business to the next level? Or are they a necessary evil on the other end of a conference call. If so, it’s probably time to start seeing other people. If you want to let them down gently, just tell them “It’s not you, it’s me.”