How to Evaluate Your Agency Partner’s Performance

The average agency-client relationship lasts less than three years. Agency “breakups” generally happen when an advertising agency fails to:

  • communicate,

  • respond,

  • understand,

  • or provide results to their clients.

However, despite these undesirable actions, sometimes clients stay with an under-performing agency. This is because hiring a new agency is a labor-intensive (and sometimes costly) process that involves countless pitches, endless planning, and tedious RFPs.

Related: Why Do Brands and Marketing Agencies Breakup?

What should client-side marketers expect from their agency partnerships?

The signs of a strong agency partnership include:

  • Trust - The client can trust that their agency will uphold all agreements and meet expectations.

  • Capability - The agency partner has the capabilities necessary to execute the client’s marketing campaigns, as well as the expertise to drive the marketing strategy.

  • A Challenger Mindset -  If the agency partner has relevant expertise that may lead to a more effective solution, they will speak up and challenge the client’s ideas.

  • Collaboration - The agency works as an extension of the client’s in-house team.

  • Communication - The agency knows how to communicate effectively and consistently to provide the most valuable marketing strategy.

In order to evaluate the overall value of the partnership, it is important for clients to conduct periodic performance assessments with each of their agency partners. That’s why Setup partnered with major brands to create a comprehensive Agency Evaluation Scorecard.

When should a marketing leader use an agency evaluation scorecard?

Client-side marketers should evaluate the performance of any agency partner annually...But additional assessments could be warranted if:

  • A client is conducting an agency roster consolidation or agency review

  • A client needs to provide a documented case for firing an agency to key decision makers of a company

Why do marketers need an agency evaluation scorecard?

  1. Structure - According to the Association of National Advertisers, 87% of clients view marketing agencies as a valued business partner, but that is only when they are utilized to their full potential. The agency scorecard helps clients systematically pinpoint what is missing within the agency-client relationship and identify gaps or areas of success.

  2. Alignment - More often than not, expectations are not aligned in the agency-client relationship. By conducting annual agency performance reviews, clients can re-evaluate the partnership’s objectives and re-align/re-calibrate the goals and expectations of the relationship.

  3. Accountability - Uncover weaknesses and unlock necessary conversations with the help of the scorecard. The checklist keeps agencies accountable to their promises, provides proof of the agency’s marketing performance in case a brand needs to rationalize firing their agency, and helps the marketing team achieve their business goals.

  4. To Remove Bias -  Sometimes, client-side marketers love their agency relationship - but not the results. The structured framework that a scorecard offers enables client-side marketers to compare/contrast agency performance on a level playing field - without human bias in the equation.

The Agency Evaluation Scorecard is a way to level-set and compare apples to apples, taking the bias out of evaluation and decision making. That’s always the challenge.

Alan Magee, Vice president of digital Marketing & technology | Church’s Chicken

Ready to evaluate the performance of your current marketing agency partners?

Download Setup’s Agency Evaluation Scorecard today.