If your agency doesn’t take marketing analytics seriously, you shouldn’t take them seriously. In fact, you need to fire them, ASAP.
It is fantastically easy for an agency to slap a few buzzwords on their website and call themselves “analytics experts.” And there are so many pretenders out there. These are agencies that bought a piece of software and hired a single employee to churn out some reports, but institutionally, they either don’t understand or don’t believe in using analytics to guide business strategy.
For these agencies, it’s all about checking off another box. They don’t want to help you get better results — hell, they’re not even trying to get better themselves. They’re not looking to invest in more advanced forms of analysis like attribution and predictive analytics, and if they’ve got a road map for helping you increase your insight, they sure haven’t shared it with you.
That’s OK, though. There are agencies out there who really are analytics experts. These disciplined, hard-working teams create crazy amounts of value for the people smart enough to hire them.
How can you weed out the poseurs? And how can you find the agencies who legitimately know what they’re doing? Here we go:
1. Their Reporting Sucks
Does your agency send you reporting once a quarter as a spreadsheet or PowerPoint? Fire them, and do it with a song in your heart.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have access to daily reports, ideally delivered through an always-on marketing dashboard. This isn’t an unreasonable request! Not only is it possible to get your hands on those numbers, you (and your agency) actually need them if you’re going to optimize media spend mid-campaign. You know, when it might actually do you some good?
Oh, and if your agency only shows you results source by source — one report for Google Analytics, another Facebook, and so on? Yeah, go ahead and fire them. It’s the 21st century. Your agency should be giving you channel- and campaign-level reporting. It’s nearly impossible to optimize cross-channel spend if all reporting is by source only.
You know one agency who does reporting right? AdFarm, an ag-focused agency with offices across North America. They’ve built a framework for delivering rapid, in-depth reporting for clients, day in and day out.
2. They’re a Faith-Based Institution
Meaning they can’t show how their work is helping to increase your sales, leads or conversions. They expect you to take it on faith.
Sure, they might point to a few numbers that have improved, but they can’t tell a performance story that shows how those metrics directly translate into more new business, greater revenue or enhanced efficiency.
To do that, they’d need the ability to layer sales and transaction data into your reporting, maybe even use an attribution model to connect your results to the marketing activities that produced them.
3. They’re Not Making You Smarter or More Profitable
And fire your agency if they aren’t giving you the kinds of insights that you help you run your business better and more profitably.
That’s really the whole point of marketing analytics, isn’t it? Not to tell you what happened — though that can be valuable — but to empower you to make better decisions going forward.
We’re talking about the kind of insight that tells you where, when and how much you need to spend in order to hit your target for new business next quarter. Tinuiti, the largest independent performance marketing agency, has wowed clients with these kinds of forecasts.
It’s the kind of insight that helps you identify your best, most profitable segments, especially when they’re not the ones you expect. It’s the insight that helps you develop new products, expand into new markets and tackle other opportunities.
Practicing marketing analytics at this level requires a certain amount of technical expertise. But, just as importantly, it takes time and discipline. It demands that your agency possesses a solid understanding of your problems and your goals, and enough imagination and problem-solving skill to do something about them.
Don’t do business with any agency that won’t make that commitment. Analytics is too important to your business’ future to leave it in the hands of dabblers and dilettantes. Fire them.
And let us know if you need an agency that can actually do the work. The agencies above are just a few of the amazing agencies that we would be thrilled to refer you to.
Interested in trying out one of Alight’s next-gen analytics solutions? Try one free for 30 days when you sign up at this link.