Mistakes Marketing Agencies make

Agencies present their results to their clients on a weekly or monthly basis, some agencies have automated dashboards while others are pulling everything into PowerPoint manually. Some focus on big picture performance while others go to the creative level of whats working what is not. Often account managers will either report on results or justify why its not perfect. So what are the most common mistakes and how to improve not just your reporting, performance but also relationships.

Mistake #1: Lacking Trends

Every company wants to know how much money was spent or how many impressions or clicks or conversions they received and what is their Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). But knowing that you spent $5,000 on campaign A or that you got 100 leads does not actually tell anyone anything. What is more important is to understand the trend is the spend going up or down, are the number of leads going in the right direction and finally are we meeting goals. Adding trends to your reporting will allow to understand seasonality and overall direction of your marketing efforts.

Adding a bar graphs or line graphs measuring over 12 months of data will give you the directional picture. Adding percentage change between previous period and previous year, will account for seasonality and if something is better or worst then.

Mistake #2:  Not asking Why

When everything is going well, most agencies just celebrate success. When things are going bad, that’s when they start to ask the questions as to why. Regardless, every month data should be analyzed to understand why is something going up or down. If the results is great, can we do more of it. If the results is bad, why is it bad? Is it the creative, landing page, product offering, competitor pressure or simply a seasonal impact.

When performance changes in any way more than a few percentage points, it is good idea to do a deep dive analysis to understand what the shift means. As a rule of thumb anything about 5% change period over period should be investigated.

Mistake #3:  Doing Fragmented Analytics

Doing analysis channel by channel or looking at analysis only on the impression/click level or conversion level takes into account only partial information. Data should be followed all the way to the sale if possible. For example, if your client is selling software and you are doing google ads, you may have two campaigns running one campaign produced 40 leads with 5 resulting in a sale while second campaign produced 20 leads which resulted in 8 sales. If you report on a lead level only, you would say first campaign did a good job, however, if you were to follow the lead all the way to the end you would find that actually second campaign outperformance. If you add revenue to it, you may find that actually the first campaign maybe better as those 5 leads contributed way more on revenue. Finally if you were to do return on ad spend, you may find that second campaign is the best. Therefore, trying to get to return on ad spend (ROAS) is the best way to judge your marketing performance.

In cases of brand awareness, you can look at brand lift, or lift in sales when running those ads or not. There are more advanced analytics that you can be implementing to judge the impact of doing brand awareness campaigns.

Mistake #4: Using the wrong marketing attribution model

Most marketing attribution models will use either first click or last click to attribute a conversion. However, some businesses will have multiple touch points, from your lead nurturing to your social media every place of communication will have an impact on your marketing. Finding the right marketing attribution model for your business is critical in reporting on your full marketing initiatives. One way to account for it is to use a big picture approach where you look at total spend across all channels and total revenue to see if your Return on Ad Spend is going up or down. You can also isolate the different activities you are doing if they are not running continuously. Finally, testing different models to see what is the most accurate representation of channels that your marketing is utilizing. There is no clear answer as it really depends.

Mistake #5: Lacking automation

If your agency is still pulling reports for meetings, its time to upgrade to an automated dashboard from a free or almost free solution such as Google’s Looker Data Studio to a paid solution such as Salesforce’s Intelligence (Datorama), will save your account managers time which they can focus on improving client relationships and looking for new businesses. As a marketing analytics agency, we often hear that our agency has to do it manually because of inconsistencies in campaign naming conventions or special rules. Inconsistency in reporting is often due to lack of proper naming convention. Despite the disorganization that some agencies have, it can still be automated and should!

Mistake #6: Controlling Information

Another reason, why agencies are hesitant to go automated is they want to control information that they are presenting to their clients. This is often the biggest mistake that you can do. Even if marketing departments at your clients office, may buy the reason why something is not performing in the short term, in the long term financial and sales data will catch up. When they do, typically the client changes agencies. Therefore, as a marketing analytics firm we strongly encourage clients to come ahead of this by being transparent. On top of that asking the question on why would typically help turn performance around.

Mistake #7: Not doing segmentation modeling         

Focusing on the right target market is the most important part of any marketing agencies job. As a marketing data company we have seen that the target market may not be well defined or worst, targeting is too broad for the start-ups that need to get started. For example, if you run a SEO agency, and your client is a robotics company targeting surgeons going after keywords such as “robotic surgery” or “Robotic surgery side effects” may give the high level of impressions however, they are most likely going to be used by consumers and not surgeon searches themselves, therefore targeting keywords such as “cost of robot for surgery” may yield better results.

Understanding your target market, can be done with a segmentation model which uses either regression model or decision tree model is the best way to overcome the unknown behavior.

Partnering with a Marketing Analytics Agency:

Partnering with a marketing analytics agency can help automate dashboards, build segmentation models, do deep dive analysis and handling any other data needs, can have benefits. The benefits start with proper reporting, better relationship with your clients and in the long run cost savings.

StrategicDB is a marketing analytics company that focuses on anything “data”. From reporting, to modelling, data migration, cleaning and automation is what they do, day in and out. Working with many marketing agencies they typically are a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time analyst, and you are getting a senior resource when you need them. Their philosophy is simple, prepare, automate and analyze. They deal with small and large scale agencies to make your data and analytics be the competitive advantage to your agency.