What's wrong with the media audit process?
Working for clients on agency pitch processes, you very quickly learn that cost is only one of many criteria that form the basis of a robust decision-making process. Clients are looking for strong strategic partners, people they can work with to help them grow their business.
They are looking for agency teams that visibly work well together and that they believe will work well with their own teams. They want agency partners that leverage strong insights and that demonstrate how they will use the best tools and technology on their business. They want people with expertise in strategy and planning, that showcase great examples of innovation, have strong processes in place and, of course, are a cultural fit with their business.
Costs are in the mix but there are lots of other elements too.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
However, roll on 12 months, the honeymoon period is probably just about over, it’s time for the first media audit. This is often the first time the newly appointed agency will go through an evaluation process. What does that evaluation process focus almost exclusively on? Cost, of course. A typical media audit will go into the minutiae of costs across all media, examining cost performance v contract benchmarks and/or v the market. But what about all the other important criteria upon which you based your original selection?
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – WHY NOT EVALUATE YOUR AGENCY, USING THE SAME METRICS YOU USED TO SELECT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Value will always be important. All marketing leaders want to have confidence that they are getting great value from their agency partners and that they are investing wisely on behalf of their business. But, if you take a brief trip back in time to when you selected this agency, the decision was based on so much more and surely it’s worth checking in on those other metrics to ensure that your partner is living up to its promises?
ISN’T it TIME THAT THE MEDIA AUDIT PROCESS CHANGED?
When designing the scope of your Media Audit, be guided by your pitch criteria. They were more likely to be based on a healthy combination of both Effectiveness (what impact you think an agency partner can have on your longer term business outcomes) and Efficiency (a commitment to best costs and excellence in implementation).
Any agency performance evaluation should surely look at all of the areas that you had already defined as being important to your business. For example;
• Are they focused on delivering your business goals through effective marketing communications?
• Do they add value through data and insights?
• Do they work like partners to your business?
• Do they deliver expertise in media strategy and planning?
• Are they delivering costs as committed?
• Are agency fees and charges as expected
This doesn’t need to be any more complicated than re-scoring your agency based on your original evaluation criteria and identifying any significant changes to your expectations.
Your audit should be an open, structured process which allows you to identify what to stop, start and continue.