Whether it’s a 6-month project or a 10-year outsourced relationship, the most important thing is to ensure your agency partners are driving success for you – and vice versa.
How long should your brand’s relationship with an agency last? On average, a brand-agency relationship lasts for around 3 years, but that doesn’t mean yours should.
It’s all too often that an evaluation is treated as a punishment to be used only when things are in a down spiral, and the relationship’s already deteriorating. In fact, for both brands and agencies alike, a regular evaluation process allows you to ensure your goals, values and culture still align, as well as giving you the chance to explore other avenues and ideas as your business grows.
An agency evaluation should not be a daunting experience for your agency partner. Make sure to co-ordinate with your agency to have the conversation together, let the know what you’re going to be evaluating them on, and ask them to provide feedback to you as well.
The evaluation process is to benefit both parties and opens up an honest dialogue around performance and commonality in the partnership. Most importantly, remember that a successful client relationship is a two-way street and constructive feedback on both sides will ultimately enhance the overall partnership.
Complete honesty around the reason regarding an evaluation program and how they will be reviewed is a very important step. This could cause a rift amongst officials and agencies, making them reluctant to participate. Making sure the purpose of the evaluation is clear will lead to behaviours that will ultimately be valuable for all and a successful evaluation is much more likely.
The process needs to be a simple as you can make it, the more complicated it becomes the less accurate your findings will become. Focus on having a reduced number of questions and lean into a simple SWOT analysis… Remember most people are time poor so the easier you can make this for others the better! Creating a quick table that you can hand-out that can be filled in would massively improve the user-experience resulting in higher contribution levels and therefore making the evaluation much more valuable for everyone involved.
An agency scorecard or performance checklist is very much needed if you want to methodically determine what is absent in your relationship with your agency as well as identify the positive aspects the partnership provides to the business. It is an objective way to discover the strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed and is a good tool to present as evidence when supplying feedback to the agency under review.
Once the review is over and you have gathered your findings do not stop there. A well-thought-out plan needs to be made ahead of time based on the evaluation results, and no action is not an option! There is always room for improvement and the process ending in no positive developments would make the whole process very empty. A successful agency evaluation takes time and effort from your team members to get the best and most insightful outcome, with the reward being progressive change and growth within the business. Make sure you know what this will look like.