Back to Blog

Attribution Buyers Guide: The Role of Agencies

Last updated: September 14, 2020

Attribution Buyers Guide- The Role of Agencies.jpg

Attribution Buyers Guide- The Role of Agencies.jpg

Most with whom we’ve spoken agree, to get maximum use of a Unified Marketing Measurement / Total Marketing Measurement platform, key stakeholders within a marketer’s organization and agencies need to be aligned on goals and workflows. In fact, successful alignment and coordination with your agencies may be the largest determinant of your marketing attribution success. This includes planning agencies, traditional media agencies and digital media agencies. In this installment of our Attribution Buyers Guide series we discuss steps marketers can take to involve their agency partners and insure maximum return on their attribution investment.

New call-to-action

Agencies should rejoice, as improved measurement is an important area where they can tie into the marketer’s technology stack, help reduce siloization across different agency and client groups, and drive meaningful and recurring value into the organization.

Independent measurement is good for agency credibility, too. When an agency produces good advertising, and do their own measurement, they are caught in a catch 22. When agencies share performance metrics with a client marketer that show a campaign failed to hit an ROI goal the data is believed. The agency gains credibility sharing the bad news.

However, when agencies present data that show successful efforts exceeding ROI goals clients are more often skeptical. The metrics that show their good work is discounted by a skeptical marketer that sees the metrics as self-serving to the agency. It is precisely for this reason that the most important partner to a good agency is independent measurement.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the ANA, over 90% of marketers indicated that they prefer independent, 3rd party measurement.

As you seek to identify a attribution vendor, we encourage soliciting agency stakeholder input on your evaluation criteria—particularly in the “Need for Speed” category, as it’s likely that the agency will be working closely with the attribution platform to quickly implement changes. For example, please see Marketing Evolution’s 3 Tips to Organize Marketing and Agency for key workflows such as trafficking that need to be in place for the optimizations to be implemented properly. Nimble buying that enables maximum optimization potential while campaigns are live will require changes in how agencies approach buying, so you’ll want their buy-in and commitment.

The best practice is for the marketer to drive the vision and selection process but seek involvement from key agency stakeholders. With a Unified Measurement solution, the platform will touch all media channels and creative, and will be a core enterprise asset that integrates into other technology systems and work streams. The agency’s involvement will be critical to a successful implementation.

Successful brands have required optimizations to be based on the recommendations of their Unified Measurement platform, and some also have provided incentives for successful implementation and optimizations. While beyond the scope of this Attribution Buyer’s Guide, savvy marketers will have required that any and all media incentives have been disclosed and ideally eliminated to avoid any conflicts between the attribution platform’s recommendations and the agency’s economic interests.

Issues of transparency are real for marketers.. The proverbial “fox guarding the hen house” paints the agency as having questionable motives. But let’s take a situation where the agency motives are 100% in the interests of the marketer, without regard to the agencies revenue or profits. Dave Gantman, who spent most of his career in agency research and rose to the level of managing director, captures the solution to the paradox when he says, “A good advertising agency’s best resource is an independent measurement vendor.”

So, how can marketers get their agencies onboard? Here are five suggestions:

  1. Transparency is Key – Develop partnerships with agencies that are committed to understanding your company’s business goals and providing complete transparency.
  2. Desire Independent Validation – Anyone can say they’re good. Look for agencies who seek measurement by independent third parties.
  3. Look for Speed – It’s a 24/7 world and modern marketers need solutions that give them lots of flexibility to respond to an ever-changing marketplace. You will probably want to find an agency who can leverage in-campaign optimization with direct links to your agency buying systems. And make sure the insights, solutions and plans provided by your measurement firm are actionable.
  4. Being Agile Helps – You’re going to want to have a fast and efficient process to allow your agency to act quickly on recommendations. Eliminate unnecessary process and approvals to give your agency the opportunity to implement decisions.
  5. Commit to Implementation – Turning results into insights that drive next-level performance can represent a significant opportunity to grow your company’s marketing ROI and revenue.

At the end of the day it is our belief that modern agencies will be eager to use the tools that help them prove their value to clients. They are also interested in discovering solutions that work and learning from ideas that didn’t. When properly implemented, total marketing measurement should make the day-to-day decisions about marketing easier, opening up more time for Test & Learn innovation. It’s only with these insights that you and your agency will find competitive advantages to drive higher marketing ROI and success.

Written by Marketing Evolution