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Reviewing Your Holiday Wish List: How Does Your Agency Measure Up?

December 17, 2019

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s the time of year for both holiday wish lists, as well as reflections.  Both of these things shouldn’t be confined to us personally and individually; the holidays are also a good time to reflect on how our agency partners are performing, and what we’d like to put on our “agency wish list” for 2020.  Whether you’re happy with your agency partner or looking to make a change, here are some important items for your Holiday Agency Partner Wish List:


Your agency partner should be curious

In today’s marketing world, executing on a strategy should just be the bare minimum in terms of success.A good agency partner should embrace their inner five year-old and constantly ask, “Why?”

Why is this channel performing? Why does one piece of creative drive so many more conversions than another? Why did we spike or dip during a certain period of time? Why are we still using certain types of media that have shown a plateau or declining performance? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Your agency should always be exploring new channels, new vendor partners, and should question a reliance on strategy and tactics if the performance data doesn’t support it.

Your agency partner should also be constantly curious about primary and secondary customer demos. Do new customers profile differently than repeat customers?How is the customer changing, and should we change the message along with them?What are secondary demos we may be ignoring?

A good agency partner should always be curious about YOUR business.No one knows as much about your business as you do, but the more your key business partners understand about what makes your business great (and what doesn’t) the better they can be.

Your agency partner should be strategic AND accountable

The trend towards accountable media has rapidly increased with better data and measurement. Buying and planning can’t be put into separate silos, they need to work together.If you hire your agency partner to develop and drive strategy, they need to consistently understand how those strategies are translating into tactical performance, and then, most importantly, they have to do something about it.

Conversely, if an agency partner is hired with intention of seamlessly executing a specific type of media or channel, they should be asking how their execution fits into overall marketing AND business performance.

All of your partners need to be accountable. An agency shouldn’t be afraid to say, “We tried this, and it didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, so, here’s why and what we recommend to do next.” When performance doesn’t meet expectations, agencies shouldn’t shy away from saying so. They need to embrace the “fail fast” mentality and constantly be learning.

Your agency partner should be focused on your business goals, not just your marketing goals

I’ve used the word partner quite a bit thus far, and I don’t use it loosely – your marketing agency should be your business partner.  They should care about the success of your business, not just impressions, reach, frequency, clicks, and conversions.Those are all marketing metrics that ring hollow if the business isn’t succeeding.

In order to achieve this level of partnership, there needs to be an open dialogue about how the business is doing on a fairly regular basis.At the very least, your agency partner needs to understand the direct and indirect connections between their efforts and bottom-line business performance on an ongoing basis.

Ideally, your agency partner utilizes analytics tools. In MBuy’s case, we have our own Everychannel Management Platform that helps us deeply understand the relationship between marketing analytics and business analytics.But analytics aren’t enough. Your agency partner needs to act – fail fast, interpret ALL of the data, optimize constantly, and expand successful efforts as much (and as quickly) as possible.


As 2019 winds down, be sure to reflect on how your agency is performing against this holiday wish list.Your business can’t afford an agency who isn’t a true partner.If your agency is on the naughty list, it’s YOUR business that will be getting a piece of coal this year.