Does Your Agency
Fondle the Hammer
by Jeremiah Owyang web-strategist.com/blog
Criteria: Why It’s Important Scoring Criteria Points
Strategy. Agencies are trusted partners in defining the direction a brand Score 5 In addition to the below, develops a strategy based on your customers social
behaviors. See Socialgraphics (http://bit.ly/socialgraphics-ws).
will head. Your trust in their experience to understand cus-tomers, your
Score 3 Develops a strategy based on your business objectives first.
needs, and technologies is key. They must be experts at balancing all three
Score 1 Develops a strategy based on whichever technology emerges. “You need a blog
spheres of the Web Strategy Spheres (http://bit.ly/threespheres). strategy” vs.”You need a two-way communications strategy.”
Score 0 Has no strategy.
Vision & Roadmap. Agencies often come in two flavors: able to see long
term based on experience, or unexperienced with only short term tactics.
Vision & Roadmap
Score 5 In addition to Long-term Vision, allows for flexibility as new tactics must emerge.
Your agency should have a track record in adopting new mediums —
Score 3 Long-term Vision: Has an over-arching strategy that spans quarters, if not years—
without throwing strategy out the window. Look for agencies that can not weeks, based upon customer goals.
see the long term—in the midst of many fast moving technologies. Score 1 Reactive: Have a different set of suggestions and recommendations based on
whatever new technology appears. Last month, it was a Twitter strategy, this
month it’s a Gowalla strategy.
Partnerships. An Agency’s ecosystems is critical to their ability to imple-
Score 0 Wait for you to tell them what to do.
ment—especially in a fast moving environment. Look for agency partners
that can work well within your existing ecosystem of partners and technical
teams, as well as bring their own set of strategic alliances to the table. The Score 5 Have a broad set of technology partners.
trick is, ensure your business goals are considered first—not the tools they Score 3 Only have a few technology partners, and coincidently are the same
recommendations they present.
have on hand.
Score 1 Has pre-built technologies—but not an agnostic mindset, recommends their
technology over and over.
Proposals. What an agency brings to the table is going to help you deter- Score 0 Has no alliances or ability to implement recommendations.
mine how strategic your partner is. Look for agencies that are creative,
can offer suggestions that haven’t been done before, or can defend why Score 5 When appropriate, willing to recommend other agencies to work with as that’s
best for the client.
repeating an existing effort makes sense. Be sure to look for a pattern of
Score 3 Provides recommendations that are agnostic of their existing tools or experiences.
proposals that first meet your customer needs and business needs –not
Score 1 Come to the table with case examples they’ve used for other clients.
just what they’ve done in the past. Recommending you do the same.
Score 0 Have no recommendations at all.
Results. The ultimate measurement is the final ROI they provide to their
clients. The proof lies within here. Don’t put success in fate’s hand, look Score 5 Exceeds expectations of a positive ROI based on customer and business objectives.
for agency partners that set goals and benchmarks to achieve, and track Score 3 Has shown success, but isn’t quite able to justify how it happened. They got lucky.
their success over time. Score 1 Was not able to demonstrate success—a weak set of customer engagements for a
short period of time.
Score 0 Was unable to demonstrate any capabilities at all.
Develop a Customer Strategy — Rather than Fondle the Hammer
Summary: This scorecard, while will vary from industry to industry is a guideline tally
for your success, having the right agency partners are key to you standing out
Scoring and Rating Your Agency Partners
in front of your customers—or just spinning your resources to no strategic end.
21-25 points: A strategic partner that has your brands best interest in mind and
Brands should use this scorecard in their discussions with account teams at their
that of your customers.
agency, and executive and account teams should hold themselves accountable to
16-20 points: A strategic partner that has your best interest in mind, but may be
their own clients. With customers moving even faster to mobile, augmented reality,
cutting corners when it comes to making recommendations for the long term, or
and location based social networks the rate of change is happening even faster. As
truly understanding your customers.
a result, agencies must be strategic in their approach, or risk damaging the brand
11-15 points: Questionable partnership. This agency may have their own in-
of their clients –or worse yet, losing the account all together. It would be great to
terests in mind before yours, as a result are certainly cutting corners by making
hear from brands (buyer) and agency partners on how well they think they would
recommendations of recycles campaigns, not thinking long term, or not invest-
score and why. Please join the discussion at: web-strategist.com/blog.
ing enough resources in thinking long term.
0-10 points: Doh! Your agency fondles the hammer. You are at risk. Demand
DESIGN BY RODERICK CHOW improvements or find someone that can meet your business needs now.
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