Two different ways to assess and evaluate agency performance

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

Increasing the performance and the efficacy of the commercial relationships managed by marketing is important and there are a number of different systems and platforms available to assist with this. These range from simple score cards to systems that measure, manage and maximise the alignment and collaboration.

Within the Marketing FIRST Forum we have developed two such systems that provide marketers, their agencies and procurement access to a full range of methodologies. From a simple score card completed by the marketing team of the agency to a two way evaluation and a multi-team or group evaluation on collaboration and performance.

These systems are Hainsight and Evalu8ing.

Hainsight is an online evaluation tool designed to conduct formal performance evaluations of the working relationship between marketers and communication agencies.

We have created Hainsight™ because we believe transparency in the relationship between marketers and agencies is the foundation for successful relationships and ultimately successful results.


Hainsight™ provides three evaluation types:

1. Marketer evaluates Agency performance

This evaluation is a light one-way evaluation, where only the Marketer evaluates the performance of the Agency.

The Agency is evaluated on four General Capabilities: Account Management, People, Cooperation and Results providing clear and actionable information on how the Marketer evaluates the Agency.

In a 90° evaluation it is not possible to include your own questions.

2. Marketer and Agency evaluates Agency performance

This evaluation is an in-depth one-way evaluation, where both the Marketer and the Agency evaluates the performance of the Agency.

The agency is evaluated on four General Capabilities: Account Management, People, Cooperation and Results and a set of questions within a Specialist Capability.

The results of the evaluation provide clear and actionable information on how the Marketer evaluates the Agency as well as provides information on the Agency’s performance self-assessment. Furthermore a gap analysis is provided.

In a 180° evaluation it is possible to include your own questions.

3. Marketer and Agency evaluates each other’s performance and conducts a performance self-assessment

This evaluation is an in-depth two-way evaluation, where both Marketer and Agency evaluates each other as well as conduct a performance self-assessment.

The Agency is evaluated within four General Capabilities: Account Management, People, Cooperation and Results and a set of questions within a Specialist Capability.

The results of the evaluation provide clear and actionable information on how the Marketer and Agency evaluates each other as well as provides information on the performance self-assessment by both parties. Furthermore a gap analysis is provided.

In a 360° evaluation it is possible to include your own questions.

Evalu8ing is an online evaluation system that allows you to measure and investigate the performance of marketing and agency relationships across multiple agencies and multiple markets all at once, allowing side by side comparison. Up to eight defined groups can be included in any survey. This could be six marketing teams working with the same creative and media agency or one marketing team working with up to seven different agency types.


We have created Evalu8ing because we believe that in the increasingly complex marketing process, there is a need to be able to measure, manage and maximise the level of performance, alignment and collaboration between the many multiple stakeholder groups working together. This can be various marketing teams, agencies, or production teams. These teams may be all internal, external and internal, in one market, or spread across multiple markets.

Evalu8ing provides three types of evaluation:

1. Performance

The Evalu8ing system allows you to customise the questions to suit the metrics and attributes you want to measure, manage and maximise.

There are more than 120 questions which have been tested and proven across five key categories including Culture, Collaboration, Communication, Project Management and Strategy. Or we can customise the questions to suit your specific needs.

We recommend no more than 20 questions in the survey as this will take the average participant around 15 minutes to complete, no matter how many groups you are evaluating.

To make it a true level playing field assessment all groups answer the same panel of questions.

2. Relationship

The Evalu8ing system lets you explore the alignment, balance and performance between all groups within the survey. You can measure the relationships between marketers and their agencies, you can explore how agencies are working together. Or how marketing teams are working together.

The fact that all parties are evaluating each other against the same questions and criteria and that this is occurring within the one survey means that you can immediately see where the relationships are aligned and where they may be out of balance.

Sharing the results of the survey with the group or team leaders and facilitating discussion not just on the scores but also the commentary leads to greater alignment and productive improvement in addressing issues and building these relationships.

3. Alignment & Collaboration

Where marketers are working with multiple agencies or multiple marketing teams are working with the same agencies, the ability to compare and contract the results in the individual relationships and across all relationships leads to greater insights and understanding of the issues.

It allows you to identify isolated issues and more systemic issues, which may not be obvious in single relationship surveys.

A video explaining how Evalu8ing works can be seen here

So there you are, two systems for measuring agency / client relationships. They can be configured to: provide an automated score card of agency performance (Hainsight) or measure the relationship between parties (Evalu8ing and Hainsight) or even measure alignment, collaboration and performance across multiple teams and groups.

What are you using to measure, manage and maximise your business relationships? And how successful is this approach?

Let us know by leaving a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email:
This entry was posted in agency solutions, Evalu8ing - Relationship Performance Monitoring, marketing process optimisation, marketing procurement, return on investment, strategic management and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Two different ways to assess and evaluate agency performance

  1. Rick Allen says:

    Impressive as usal Darren. I can readily understand the capability for measuring relationship. communication and the rest of the basics of good business practices.
    What has always puzzled me is the evaluation of creative output from Agency and the effectiveness of its evaluation by clients. Can work on measurement for creative that is actually delivered (by the resukts gained in sales traffic etc) – but seems to usually founder where a client knocks back concepts or modifies them out of recognition!
    Also seems to be an area that a lot of Procurement professionals struggle with.
    Do you have any insigts into how to measure and evaluate the basically subjective area of good creative?

  2. TrinityP3 says:

    Thanks Rick. You are right, creative evaluation is often troubling for marketers and procurement. When campaigns fail, the easiest thing is to blame the creative concept. Yet the creative concept should be aligned and an expression of the strategy. And I think this is the failing of creative evaluation as currently practiced. In the brief there are key elements from the strategy that must be considered such as audience, message and one of voice. This is a good starting point for evaluating the creative concept against. It is interesting that often agencies and marketers will evaluate concepts without any rigorous review of the brief. This means that they are often judging the creative concept on the basis of if they like it of not. Having a set of criteria does not remove subjectivity and certainly does not create objectivity, but it does provide structure to the evaluating process. Ensuring the concept is aligned to the strategy is the first step. Then beyond this creating a structure for further evaluation provides a consistency. There is however, new opportunities to trial and test concepts in the digital environment. We have clients who have concepts produced as digital executions and then test these in real time environments to test the level of attractions, interaction, engagement and response. Have you found any approaches like this that have worked for you Rick?

  3. Rick Allen says:

    Thanks for the considered response. The basics for individual creative executions are as you state, dependant on a good brief and then evaluation of the concept against that brief. The trick is to have client and agency sufficiently skilled in ignoring their own preconceptions and looking at it from the target markets viewpoint! Not always easy to get a university/private school educated big dollar earbing 25 yr old to take the viewpoint of a lower income blue collar worker who buys powdered coffee!
    Testing against the target market is a suitable approach to bridging the viewpoint gap and the ability to do so with a digital activity can be a great help- cheaper and quicker than group research- provided the market is appropriate.
    The real issue is though, when evaluating the overall creative output of the agency/client team- I guess the proof remains in the pudding and results are the measurement at the end of the day- if theyare poor and creative is in the sights then a professional and unbiased review of what is not working in the creative process will probably help- and keep the finger pointing and egos at a minimum!

    • TrinityP3 says:

      Rick, there are studies undertaken by the IPA, where they link creative work to the return on investment. The case studies showed that creatively awarded work also worked. Of course the immediate criticism was that they did not look at non-awarded work as a control group. But overall and during the process I know of no-one that has solved this issue. The direct cause and effect is elusive because of the complexity of variables that influence the outcomes. In regards to a more structured process, I would still recommend marketers score each individual campaign based on an agreed evaluation criteria, rather than collectively in hindsight. The reason being is that the same of the parts never seems to add up to the whole when reviewed with the distortion of 20/20 hindsight.

Comments are closed.