Three Questions That Reveal and Agency’s True Agenda

Here at 360 Marketing Plus, we believe in partnering with our clients. Being transparent and building trust is a must. We expect our clients to be honest with us and in turn, we commit to being honest with them. But there are key practices that we maintain around three areas that reveal our intentions by the way we do business, not just by what we say we are about. If you are shopping for an agency we want to encourage you to ask about these three things before you decide to buy agency services.

Intellectual Property

This is a big one. We can’t tell you how many times we have come across business owners that did not ask about intellectual property rights before getting a logo, website or other creative asset designed by an agency. They pay hundreds or thousands of dollars only to find that they do not have full aces to the work. For example, we came across a local chiropractor who paid over 10,000 for a website and when he requested administrative rights to the site the agency said no. The chiropractor wanted to take over the maintenance of his own website and he was denied access to it. The agency’s agreement did not grant the customer full rights to his own website.

The customer assumed that since he was paying the agency to design or create something, then it must be his. Unfortunately, he did not think to ask if there were limitations to his rights and no one at the Agency told him anything. This scenario is very common. Agency’s that believe in holding customer intellectual property hostage will normally not disclose these limitations unless the customer asks.

We urge you to ask how creative rights are handled before paying for any service and make sure that you read the fine print. Our contracts include language that grants our clients perpetual rights to access and use the work we create for them. This is an important best practice for us because we believe in empowering our clients with what they need to be successful. Our rule is, if you pay for us to create it for your business, it’s yours to use for that business.

Media Buying vs Brokering

The term agency is often used loosely by a variety of service providers. It can apply to companies that are as different from each other as apples are to oranges. It is important to understand what kind of agency you are dealing with before beginning a project or you may wind up disappointed.

A simple way to determine what kind of agency you are dealing with is the way they make their money. For example, if an agency tells you that their primary source of revenue is from commissions paid by media outlets, they are likely a media broker agency. If all you need is someone to help you negotiate rates and guide you through the media buying process this may be the perfect agency type for you.

However, if you are looking for neutral advice and accountability for results you may want to think twice here. If an agency makes their living off of commissions their logical agenda will be to keep you buying media first and to help you obtain results second. The same rule applies to agency’s that broker other services such as websites, fliers, events etc.

If you want to work with an agency that will look out for your interest and focus on getting you results, no matter what media or services you wind up buying, look for an agency that makes most of their money off of consulting fees. When you invest in a consultant agency like 360 Marketing Plus, you are paying for our time and expertise so our top priority will be to get you results. Some consulting agencies may make some commissions from media buying but these commissions are only to offset the cost of managing and auditing your media buys. It is not a primary source of revenue. A consulting agency is more likely to stay neutral and support you if you decide to reduce or cancel a media buy.

Accountability for Key Performance Metrics

Before working with an agency, ask them how they plan to help you achieve the results you are looking for. Have a conversation about your sales/revenue goals and ask them how they can help you achieve them. Then ask how they plan to track and analyze results.

If you are working with a broker agency, they may not have much of a plan because their core business is sales of marketing products and services. But if you are entertaining a consulting agency, they will likely have some sort of plan that includes projections of clicks, calls or sales.

Marketing is not an exact science but it is possible to glean results and ROI by analyzing media results against sales data consistently. For example, we use call tracking strategies through a web-based platform that allow our clients to view in real-time the calls generated by each media. So our clients always know how many calls they are getting from their website, social media, Google paid Google organic and any TV or Radio ads. We then analyze the calls against actual customer data to understand the conversion rates and estimate the ROI.

We also track results from email marketing, digital ads, social media by analyzing clicks and conversion there too. Using historical data we can often project results before a campaign and adjust strategies accordingly. This helps to minimize the risk before starting a campaign and it also helps us optimize results by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

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