Understanding Deal Performance Management: Enhancing Agency Relationships for Better Results
Building a successful relationship between brands and their agencies is often a complex task. While some iconic brand-agency partnerships, such as Honda's collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy or Apple's enduring bond with TBWA\Chiat\Day, stand the test of time, the dynamic nature of modern marketing often tempts brands to seek new partners in pursuit of improved outcomes. In fact, the prevalence of such turnover is so significant that nearly 40% of brands now consider replacing their agency within just six months. Clearly, there must be a more effective way to streamline this process and ensure mutual success for both parties involved.
Determining whether to stick with or switch agencies is never an easy decision. However, like any strategic marketing move, it should be driven by concrete facts and figures. Unfortunately, many global brands find themselves lacking the necessary insights to evaluate their agency partners effectively, with valuable performance data arriving too late to influence campaign strategies.
Challenges in Evaluating Agency Relationships
Why is it so difficult to assess agency relationships? The answer is simple: it's a complex landscape. The Master Service Agreement (MSA) that governs these relationships encompasses a wide range of metrics and criteria on which agencies agree to be evaluated.
Consider the realm of television advertising, for instance. Agencies commit to securing specific ad rates within the MSA, which may be influenced by factors like ad placement in a commercial break or securing primetime slots. Untangling these metrics and assessing their impact becomes quite challenging.
Furthermore, quality must also be taken into account. Brands need to ensure they aren't overpaying for ads that go unseen, get poorly placed, or appear in inappropriate contexts. Marketers must maximise the effectiveness of their ad spend by precisely targeting their desired audiences while understanding the associated costs.
Now, expand this complexity to encompass multiple channels such as digital, CTV, and out-of-home (OOH), across diverse markets with their own pricing agreements. It becomes evident that brands are faced with an overwhelming amount of media data to handle. It's no surprise that most brands only audit these relationships once a year. However, in our fast-paced and ever-evolving economy, is an annual audit sufficient? What happens when macro or micro factors derail our plans?
Another critical concern arises when global brands attempt these audits – the clarity and reliability of the data will have knock-on implications. When brands look to undertake these audits, agencies will go through all post-campaign data that comes directly from the source and manually enter this data into templates for brands. By adding a pair of hands into the data process, the risk of human errors could distort the end results, or worse, there is scope for the manipulation of this data. Such inaccuracies can significantly impact decision-making regarding campaign efforts and agency relationships.
Unravelling the Data Web
Evaluating an agency relationship goes beyond simply ensuring that partners meet their goals. It's about using insights to cultivate a mutually beneficial and harmonious partnership that sets agency teams up for success.
Annual audits alone fail to foster this kind of partnership. The insights gained from such audits arrive too late to be fully leveraged. When targets are not met, blame is assigned, and relationships deteriorate. What if there were a way to enhance transparency in managing agency guarantees on an ongoing basis? What if brands could access data more swiftly to make course corrections and optimise their spending?
Introducing Deal Performance Management, a Solution for Success
Our Deal Performance Tracking solution equips brands with the necessary tools to evaluate agency relationships more effectively by automating key processes and mitigating the risk of data contamination.
The solution begins by ingesting the various components of the MSA, meticulously accounting for the nuances of each agreement. When the post-campaign data becomes available, ideally directly from the source or, when that is not possible, from the agencies, it is then ingested into the system before being cleansed and normalised to ensure accuracy. Then it is mapped and tracked against the granular details within the agency guarantees, providing an on-going monthly health-check.
This streamlined and frictionless process empowers brands and their agency teams to access insights on a monthly basis, allowing local and regional teams to monitor deal performance at a granular level. Access to the data sets is permission based so only the right teams see the right information across all markets and agencies. Regular check-ins provide opportunities for ongoing course corrections, ensuring that brands and their agencies collaborate harmoniously to maximise return on investment (ROI).
Moreover, the Deal Performance Tracking solution goes beyond historical media performance analysis, offering predictive capabilities to forecast deal value delivery even when post-campaign data is not yet available.
By embracing Deal Performance Management, brands can transform their approach to evaluating agency relationships. They gain the power of timely insights, fostering more collaborative partnerships and unlocking the potential for enhanced campaign performance and business success.