What should your company get out of an agency?
At my former agency, we resigned an account for budgetary reasons but continued to advise them throughout their RFP review. During the process, a member of the RFP committee asked me, “What is the one thing we should look for in a new agency?” My answer was easy, “Make sure they have a measurement strategy and are results-oriented.”
It sounds simple and in 2020 it seems like everyone in the ad industry knows that data is key to being a successful marketer, but I am still surprised at how many campaigns I come across that lack a fundamental understanding of what success looks like and how it will be measured. And I am talking about a strategy that is established from the beginning, not a retroactive look back to find the metrics that make the campaign look best.
Some campaigns lack a strategy all together and others have metrics that look good on paper, but don’t drive the true engine of the business. Leads are a good example. Agencies will often say it’s their responsibility to generate leads and a client’s responsibility to close them. Leads as a goal can quickly get inflated even though conversion rates drop, quality declines and clients lose interest in contacting the new leads because their resources are exhausted by chasing bad leads. At some point, quality also needs to be measured.
I’ve been fortunate to have some really good bosses in the past. One of them introduced me to the concept of Goodhart’s Law that states that once a measurement becomes a target it’s no longer a good measure. Another overused the word ‘myopic’, but it always seemed like the only word that truly conveyed his point: its simple definition is nearsightedness, its more complex definition treads into lacking intellectual understanding and insight. Together, these two concepts form the basis for my thoughts on measurement strategy—if you only track one metric, your metric is probably misleading, manipulated, or well, myopic.
No one should be looking around the room at the end of a campaign wondering if it was a success, that definition should be agreed on before you began. And a good measurement strategy should have a few gauges, but priorities can still be understood. Sometimes, it’s time to throw out all the traditional thoughts on how success is measured and rethink it completely if it’s not based on measurable metrics that actually make your business hum.