With any advertiser-agency relationship, the fourth quarter of every year is time for “the conversation.” You know, the uncomfortable conversation where you ask your significant other (and yourself) the big questions: Where are we going? Is this still working for us? Is the spark still alive? Hopefully, your 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 leave.
If you’ve been having doubts about your agency, here’s seven signs you should start looking for a new one.
If your 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 hits, but great advertising gets conversions, hit’s KPI goals, and generate real ROI.
No A/B Tests
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, web UI and calls to action through A/B testing is the only way to stop the law of advertising entropy and keep your creative afloat. Underperforming agencies will ride good creative ‘til the wheels fall off while great agencies enter there prized creative in the Indy 500 to see who comes out on top.
Lack of 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 campaign results through detailed weekly reports that show what stations, creative, and media channels are hitting your KPI goals. These reports should be a given, not a privilege.
Your Agency Cries “Frequency!”
If you’ve written a successful direct-response radio or TV ad, 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 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 15 percent. Good direct-response advertising has a sense of urgency that makes your target to call 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 a sale before completely pulling the plug.
Your Goals are Not Aligned
Is your agency charging project fees and for percentage of media without guaranteeing any results? If your agency’s goal is to rack up large invoices instead of driving conversions, you’re suffering from a major priority misalignment.
Your Agency Loves Winning Awards
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 are in violation of advertising rule numero uno: advertising isn’t entertainment.
The Thrill is Gone
Would you hire the account executive, creative director or principal at your agency to work at your company? Do they have the enthusiasm, desire to grow, and commitment needed to take your business towards your ultimate goals? Or are they a necessary evil on the other end of a conference call that reluctantly listens to your insights and critiques? If so, it’s probably time to start seeing other people. Just tell ‘em “It’s not you, it’s me.” But of course its them.