10 ways to save money with your agencies (without shooting yourself in the foot)

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This post is by Stephan Argent, CEO of Argedia Group and a member of the Marketing FIRST Forum, the global consulting collective co-founded by TrinityP3

Save money with agency

If you’re reading this thinking it may be an easy fix guide to squeezing the living daylights out of your agency(s) to save costs, you’re going to be disappointed. It isn’t.  Because one of the biggest challenges when marketers try to save money – whether it’s with their agencies or not – is how to save money without eroding value.

Done wrong, the consequences of trying to save money can be disastrous because you limit marketing efforts, diminish value from media dollars, upset long-standing agency relationships, squeeze profit margins too hard and erode the level of quality resources on your own business.

Kinda like shooting yourself in the corporate foot.

Done right, marketers can save money and improve value to the services they’re paying for.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But actually, it’s surprisingly simple if you follow the simple adage, “accentuate the positive – eliminate the negative…” In other words, eliminate, address and fix the stuff that’s not working or eroding value and leverage the positive assets your agency(s) are bringing to the table.

Here are ten ways to save money and potentially increase value in the process:

  1. Treat your agency as partners. Step one is to treat your agency as a partner and ensure the relationship is set up as a win-win for both you and your agency. Agency relationships that are out of balance won’t yield long-term great work. And while you think you’re getting a good deal, you could potentially increase agency output if they were remunerated fairly.
  2. Know your agency. Understanding your agency’s strengths and weaknesses can save you (and your agency) wasted time and money. By understanding and focusing on your agency(s) strengths and reassigning areas where the agency struggles, will help you stop spinning your wheels and get traction faster and with less cost.
  3. Know your organisation. Sure, it’s important to understand your agency – but what’s your own marketing team good at? Where are their weaknesses? How can they improve to help streamline process, reduce duplication, misunderstanding and / or cost?
  4. Fix it – don’t chuck it. While it may be tempting to switch agencies because the grass looks greener elsewhere, it’s frequently faster, cheaper and ultimately more rewarding, to address and make every effort to fix issues first. The repair efforts may help identify issues within your own organisation that have become barriers to success – saving you time and the expense and disruption of an agency search.
  5. Know what things cost. If you’re suffering from sticker shock with your agency, it’s probably worth doing a benchmarking exercise to understand what fair market rates are. The results will enable you to effectively renegotiate with your agency or adjust your requirements and expectations in-line with your budget.
  6. Align for best results. With multiple agencies on your roster, it’s important to ensure each agency is clear about the mandate it’s assigned to and understands where the boundaries are. Aligning agency resources will maximise value from each agency and eliminate wastage or duplication of effort.
  7. Ensure collaboration. Are your agencies working together or are they fighting for dollars within your marketing budget? An aligned agency roster is one thing, but creating and then expecting a culture of collaboration is vital to ensure the best ideas bubble to the fore – no matter where they come from.
  8. Incentivise properly. How are you incentivising your agency(s) for maximum value? Does the agency understand which metrics they should be focused on that will make the most difference to your business? Incentivising against the right metrics with a meaningful and rewarding upside will naturally help drive value on both sides.
  9. Dust off the contract. When was the last time you reviewed your agency contract – does it even reflect the services your agency is providing today? Revisiting your agency contract and aligning it to a current scope of work will help define or redefine a meaningful remuneration structure.
  10. Don’t know? Then ask! If your agency relationship isn’t working as well as you’d like but you’re not sure why – then do an agency health check with your team to find out what’s not working and where improvements can be made for greater efficiency and better value.

Proactive agency management leads to stronger agency relationships that are more finely tuned to your organisation’s requirements. In turn, dollars are applied more effectively and wastage or duplication of effort is greatly reduced.

So, are you getting ready to shoot yourself in the corporate foot?  Or ready to proactively manage your agency relationship, reduce costs and increase value from your marketing dollars?

As in most cases, the client gets to choose.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean the client is always right.

See how TrinityP3 can optimise your agency productivity and performance 

About Stephan Argent

Stephan Argent is a former agency planner from England, and has held senior roles in agencies in both Canada and the United States. Most recently he was Vice President of Digital Media at CTV, and is now President of Le Riche Argent, Canada’s leading independent Agency Search and Media Management Consultancy.” Visit Le Riche Argent here

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