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Using a strategic tool for better client agency relationships – Case study

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The Situation:

The Evalu8ing client had just entered into several new agency relationships including a new lead creative agency and a new media agency. They felt that communication, collaboration and project management between all teams, including themselves, was unsatisfactory and would ultimately compromise the effectiveness of any future brand strategies and campaigns unless addressed.

Objectives:

  1. To use the Evalu8ing tool and process to measure, manage and maximise the performance of all relationships in the client’s marketing ecosystem. Being able to survey up to 8 groups, Evalu8ing provided the perfect platform not only for the client now, but in the future as other partners could be brought in to help deliver their marketing requirements especially in digital and data management.
  2. To put in place a formalised 6 monthly health check on all relationships to maximise open communication and address issues before they became detrimental to the health of any relationship or the business.
  3. To give all members of each team a chance to participate in the survey and have their opinions heard.

The Scope:

TrinityP3 worked with the client to:

  • Diagnose the relationship status and advise on key categories to survey.
  • Advise on the final list of questions, developing new ones where required.
  • Manage the survey – participants and questionnaire distribution and completion.
  • Analyse the survey and provide a final report of quantitative results, commentary and key observations.
  • Facilitate a two-hour multi-team workshop to address the key observations and agree action points.

The Approach:

The process began with defining the marketing ecosystem. In this case the marketing process was initiated within the business and managed by a centralised group marketing function, responsible for the engagement and management of the agencies.

Three agencies were identified as being the key partners in marketing communications – a creative lead agency, a media agency, and a PR/Social agency.  A data management agency was then added to the survey in Round 3 and in the next round there are plans to add a fifth agency.

Working with the client, TrinityP3 then assisted developing the questions that were to make up the survey ensuring a relatively equal spread of questions across the five categories of Communication, Collaboration, Culture, Project Management and Strategy.

TrinityP3 assisted the client in communicating to agencies what Evalu8ing was, how it was going to be used, the reasons why it was being implemented and when the survey would be run, recognising the importance of positively positioning Evalu8ing as a constructive tool to make relationships stronger versus a tool that could end up “a blame game” for negative commentary.

TrinityP3 launched the online survey to all agreed participants as planned with respondents sent regular reminder emails to complete it, these increasing to daily reminders in the final 3 days leading up to survey close.

Once the survey closed, TrinityP3 completed the analysis on the quantitative component, the scores, and the participant commentary and provided an Executive Summary highlighting overall findings, positive observations, areas to improve and areas of potential issue moving forward. The 96 page report was delivered to client for distribution to agencies for all participants to read prior to a 2 hour face to face workshop with senior members from each agency and the client team to discuss key observations and agree action points.

The Outcomes:

Evalu8ing highlighted some key areas for immediate attention and some for longer-term management.

Specifically in Round 1:

  • Project Management was an area of weakness causing distress in all teams and relationships. Actions were agreed in the workshop and immediately implemented by the teams. Whilst Project Management continues to be an area to work on, all scores continue to trend upwards each round.
  • The lead creative agency was not on a retainer and therefore, tended to operate with a project mentality, rather than on a ‘partnership’ basis. Questions relating to proactivity, creative innovation and understanding of the business and its commercial imperatives were all weakly scored. The client appreciated that whilst on project fees, generally an agency will deliver to task rather than immersing themselves in the business. Discussions regarding a retainer were initiated and by Round 2, a retainer was being finalised. The relationship and scores have continued to improve each round.
  • The media agency, being relatively new, scored very low in Round 1 with an average overall score of 63 (versus the overall survey average of 74.5). Almost every question was poorly scored versus other teams and there were major issues around team leadership, quality and experience of current team, processes, attention to detail and timeliness. These were all raised within the first round of Evalu8ing and discussed at length in the workshop.The media agency immediately started addressing the issues and by Round 2, not only had they improved on every question, their overall average was 14 points higher than the previous round.  They have continued to improve every round since and are big contributors to the cultural and collaborative strength of this powerhouse client/agency team.

Across all clients who undertake Evalu8ing the overall average is 71.5. This client and its agencies have now completed 4 rounds of Evalu8ing. Round 1 produced an overall average of 74.5 and whilst that is a relatively strong performance, the most recent round has produced an exceptional average of 80.7.

This is testament to the commitment of all teams but also to the invaluable contribution that Evalu8ing can make to address key issues across multiple parties and assist teams in creating better, stronger, longer-lasting relationships.

 

To find our how TrinityP3 Marketing Management Consultants can help you further with this, click here.

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With her background in big brands and creative development, combined with her own experience running a successful business, Anita brings a unique blend of insights, creativity, empathy and understanding to the communications industry particularly in the areas of talent management, agency process and new business pitch management. Read Anita's bio here

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