Every marketer is entrusted to produce results that help boost a company’s profit. Most assuredly, many businesses put a lot of money into digital public relation, marketing and trust that their investments deliver in all aspects of digital marketing.
Consider the technology available today. With it, you can track the performance of various marketing campaigns in real-time.
It is but logical that marketing agencies are held to account more seriously for their clients’ return on investment (ROI).
Corporations are increasingly seeking to work with performance-driven agencies. They seek agencies that
- Recognise perfectly how various campaigns correlate to sales;
- Have the competence to use data for making sound marketing decisions; and
- Adjust their strategies for better results over time
Agencies that effectively employ a systematic approach to evaluation and data reporting tend to deliver more satisfactory results than the next guy.
Businesses invest in marketing, and, therefore, expect a lot from these services.
From the client’s viewpoint, there is nothing more dissatisfying than a digital marketing company that gives little thought to accountability.
‘Accountability’ means different things for different people.
In light of online marketing however, the meaning is rather clear:
- The client does not expect their digital marketing company to display incredible performance only during the first few weeks of a marketing campaign, just to lose it along the way
- Great performance should be maintained throughout the marketer’s engagement with the agency
That can only happen if the agency is guided by a strong sense of accountability.
As for the digital agency, you want to earn and retain the trust of your clients.
As for the client, how do you ensure that your digital marketing company remains accountable?
Understand Client Marketing Goals
Any outstanding performance starts with an understanding of the actual work.
The better you understand the work, the better you can devise an effective approach to give it a go.
This is the very hypothesis that will work for a “serious” digital agency:
- Display accountability of your agency to your clients
- Earn their trust and loyalty
- Master the essential details of your work
You can only know the best way to serve your clients if you understand their needs.
Start your assessment plan with a solid understanding of your client’s expectations. These include their marketing goals, background and potentials.
This background provides you with a benchmark against which the health of your campaign can be diagnosed.
The data can be collected from your initial meetings with the client.
Or, you can use any suitable assessment tool.
Armed with your data, you’ll be in a position to set realistic campaign goals and practically allocate resources for each strategy.
As an agency, you are unlikely to be working alone. So, delegate duties to members of your staff with clear expectations for each. You can measure their effectiveness and individual accountability against the client’s expectations as presented to them.
Put in Place the Latest Industry Tracking Technologies
An online marketing agency is just as competent as the type of technology it uses.
This cuts across data collection, data entry and data recording.
Most importantly, this affects data monitoring.
The monitoring of data is critical because it has an immense impact on how fast, how well and how effectively you deliver results. Today, various technologies exist for capturing and recording data.
Double-check to ensure you have the best technology for your client’s needs.
Use your initial assessment of the client’s lead sources and technology as a key starting point.
Sample Reporting Technologies to Consider
1. Website analytics software
Google Analytics, or GA, is the basic analytics software used by nearly everyone in the digital marketing world. But GA is not the only analytics software on the Web. There are multiple other great analytics tools that an agency can choose from.
Shop around to identify what works best for you before making your choice.
Having analytics software that works well ensures quality and timely reporting. This boosts your level of accountability a great deal.
2. Marketing automation
These are technologies and software platforms that make marketing via multiple channels more effective. These channels include social media, email and website.
You can use these technologies to automate repetitive tasks.
3. Social media management solutions
If you have only your business or perhaps a friend’s social media accounts to manage, it is quite okay to go manual all the way.
But if you’re handling multiple accounts belonging to different clients, you can’t do a great job without some element of automation.
Identify a suitable social media management solution that will track and report data in real time from all your clients’ social media accounts.
4. Email software
You will be sending out several emails on behalf of different clients. This will require some appropriate email software.
You need to be prepared to deal with the latest email technology in the market.
A lot of clients are now in the cloud, rather than in their PCs. As such, you’ll have to decide between the cloud which has taken a great turn over the last few years, and the desktop for your email marketing services. With the desktop, you may have to offer a lot of features to keep your customers interested.
5. Call tracking
There has been a surge in inbound phone calls to various businesses.
As such, call tracking is currently one of the most valuable means through which you can measure the effectiveness of local search campaigns. Customers are increasingly calling various businesses directly from directories and search results, without actually visiting the website of the business.
It is, therefore, important that you identify a good call tracking solution that you can use to serve various clients.
6. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
These are technologies, practices and strategies used by companies to manage and analyse customer interactions and data across the entire customer lifecycle.
Customer Relationship Management systems are an effective tool for:
- Improving business relationships with customers
- Stimulating customer retention
- Driving sales growth
Using these tracking technologies in isolation may not translate to the best possible performance reports.
It is best, therefore, to integrate your reports into a central dashboard that simplifies monitoring of metrics.
Identify the Main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Different businesses use various metrics to measure performance at various levels of the sales funnel.
Identify the key metrics used by each client to measure success, such as the following:
The Key Performance Indicators should be specific to an organisation.
Website visitors, sales leads, customers, customer lifetime value, revenue and churn rate can all be used to measure a campaign’s progress, forming the basis of your recommendations as an ad agency.
Schedule Regular Meetings that Unite all Involved
Regular meetings, say monthly, will effectively bring everyone together on the same page with the campaign.
The agency should observe weekly intra-agency meetings.
This will bring the staff together to report progress and plan ahead.
Reports are effective in fostering accountability on the part of everyone involved.
When going over results and planning any adjustments on strategy, the agency may use meetings with the client, deliver a report and chat about their forward strategy in light of any client recommendations.
An organisation may also play a key part in ensuring the agency in charge of their digital marketing is accountable and does its job well, through regular meetings.
It is useful to have all parties brought up to speed with the requirements and progress of a campaign.
The PPC, website host, the social media company and the SEO company all need to be in agreement.
Today more of these services are likely to be provided by the same marketing agency. But if that is not the case, a meeting with all of them can be great. Sometimes, such a meeting can be conducted virtually, through a joint telephone call.
Keep a Record of Each Interaction
Records of emails or phone-calls with the client, or minutes of meetings are useful.
They can be relied upon as reminders of what the client recommends.
As long as you have such a source of information, you can always make the right adjustments where you have otherwise missed a point.
Monitor Data, Report Performance and Adapt
Digital marketing agencies that take a more performance-centric approach are likely to deliver satisfactory results to their clients. In turn, they easily earn the accountability flag.
Such an approach centres on transparency.
It enables these agencies to run more effectively and earn better client respect, which is often accompanied with larger solid budgets.
Here’s how an agency can achieve a successful performance-centric approach:
- Adopt the use of a central reporting dashboard
- Customise the dashboard based on a client’s priority areas and sales funnel
The right reporting dashboard facilitates reporting on those performance metrics that matter to the client.
The same centralised dashboard can be used to
- Monitor performance on a daily basis
- Record the data
- Make reporting a much easier thing to do
Such a tool enables you to provide high-level performance snapshots on a regular basis.
What a Business can do to Foster Accountability
Most of what has been discussed revolves around the things that a digital marketer can do to ensure it presents itself as accountable to its clients.
But accountability can also be encouraged by the clients themselves.
Here are some things an organisation can do to encourage the digital marketing agency to be accountable for its service delivery.
Ask the Agency for Reports on Agreed-upon Metrics
If the agency reports on metrics that matter to your business then it is definitely observing good reporting practices.
This entails providing essential data on these metrics.
Both the agency and client should agree regarding the metrics from the outset of the campaign. Then it is the agency’s responsibility to observe the reporting schedule as agreed.
You can observe how well the agency delivers on these agreed-upon dates to establish their levels of commitment.
Also, the manner in which your metrics are defined should remain constant. This allows you to make a true comparison to the baseline at different points.
Stay in Touch with the Marketing Agency
A digital marketing agency may all too often remain communicative during the first couple of weeks following the inception of a campaign, but then begins to cut communication down the line.
So, don’t wait for the digital agency to stop communicating with you.
Of course, they will normally have the usual line of defence being the campaign is in progress and there’s little to report at the moment.
There may be a shred of truth to this, but still there is always something being worked on that can be reported.
Keeping in touch will encourage the agency to stay engaged throughout the campaign.
Ask the Agency to Vary its Strategy as the Business Landscape Changes
This may serve as a wake-up call to ensure the agency is up to date with trends. Making it clear that it should change its strategy to meet changing business needs will be beneficial in more than one way.
For one, the marketer will learn that you are a serious business, and that you are keen on your requirements and expectations; they will be motivated to up their game.
Aside from that, the adjustment will help the organisation to have an easy time when interpreting the reports from the agency.
A leading agency will not just stop at reporting on top metrics alone.
It will stay atop the curve and always anticipate your reporting needs.
It is clear that good reporting is a key to displaying accountability on the part of any digital marketing agency. And the increasingly changing technology continues to enhance the landscape.
Both the marketer and the agency have important roles to play in fostering accountability.
It is not just the agency’s responsibility alone; but something that requires the client’s participation as well.
It takes two to tango. And, in the case of digital marketing, the two are the agency and the client.