What every great CMO expects from an agency
By Deanna Jamieson, VP BBN Canada and Annette Fernandes-Poyser | 4min read
Choosing the right agency in a market where there are an over-supply and an increase in complexity of marketing requirements can be a challenging task for CMOs and procurement teams.
Although there isn’t as much of an oversupply of B2B agencies as there are in the B2C world, it’s still important to find the right partner for the problem.
CMOs are wondering if their agency has the right depth of experience in specific areas to be effective.
To be competitive and retain client loyalty agencies once claimed to offer a complete integrated one-stop-shop marketing solution, and at one time, that seemingly was what clients and CMOs were looking for, and most of the time it was deliverable.
Breadth & depth from a single source
However, nowadays marketers are a little more sceptical of this claim and rightly so. The extensive array of marketing services, channels and strategies mean CMOs and marketing directors are now questioning the real value and strengths their agency brings to their ever-expanding marketing requirements. They are wondering if their agency has the right depth of experience in specific areas to be effective.
Over the past few years, we have seen CMOs move away from big seasonal campaigns to ‘always-on’, content-driven marketing and are being asked by their management to do more with digital and social. Because of this many clients prefer the specialist model and select agencies based on tools for each job that needs to be done but as there are so many jobs that need to be done, clients realise they have too many agencies to manage.
They are therefore trying to find new ways of restructuring their agencies so that they can consolidate as many services into one agency or model as possible. Recent reports and our experience has seen a shift in CMOs selecting a spread of marketing specialists across a variety of areas and increasingly cherry picking specialist skills sets. These changes are resulting in an increased divergence in the agency landscape, the most significant influence being the increase in marketing technology. These changing client needs are forcing agencies to re-evaluate their offering and think about how and where they can add value, embrace change, differentiate themselves and lead progress.
So, B2B clients want agencies that are specialists, rather than generalists; they want a more bespoke agency with higher levels of sector expertise and specialisation. An essential requirement is that their agency can demonstrate an understanding of B2B, speaks their language and has a more in-depth knowledge of their business.
With multiple channels and platforms to communicate across, clients are finding it increasingly challenging to maintain a single consistent tone of voice and messaging. Added to this, when marketing campaigns and communications become fragmented across multiple unconnected agencies it becomes even more difficult, so the idea of having a multi-agency, integrated model, united by a common methodology, culture and engagement process, becomes increasingly attractive.
Client marketing teams want their agency relationships to operate as smoothly as possible, so they want flexible and pragmatic working models and processes as well as better integration with their methodologies to make it easier to work with each other. This level of required flexibility means that agency models need to be adaptable.
Access to Senior Leadership and decision makers
Our most successful pitches are with clients who have their marketing team and procurement involved from the start. This means that both departments have input in the process and have agreed their requirements upfront, this saves a lot of time for everyone in the long term. Equally, while most clients have a direct point of day-to-day contact, access to our executive team is always open. We feel this demonstrates that our agency management cares about our client's business and that we are willing to invest our time in being a real partner in helping our clients achieve their goals.
Results and ROI
It may be obvious, but we ensure that we can align our client's business objectives and KPIs against the creative strategy and campaign concepts we develop. We always have case studies to hand of past successes that align with what our client wants to achieve.
We appreciate that its often hard to set budgets for a marketing campaign a client has never delivered before, so we find its helpful to share proven case studies with guideline costs to assist in getting budgets pre-approved.
When it comes to strategy, creativity and talent, costs are difficult to compare. Squeezing on fees could be counterproductive and result in downgrading the quality of talent or dilute the services our clients require. We provide a high quality of output, and expect to be remunerated accordingly, however, we also respect our client's budget and recommend the best solutions within those parameters.
Simply put, people work well with like-minded, people they like and respect. We invite all our clients to get to know the entire agency team that will work on their account. It’s the team’s dedication and passion for their business that will influence how successful the relationship will be. The emotional connection between an agency and a client’s organisation can be compelling. Besides the rational ticking of boxes, we find that the final decision often weighs heavily on the emotional connection. We’ve experienced huge differences between clients who work with us as suppliers with little or no chemistry and those who treat us as a partner and thus get more out of the relationship. We can often spot a successful campaign that has been delivered by a real agency/client partnership.
Part of that emotional connection comes from a shared culture fit. The values of our agency influence the kind of relationship we have with our clients. We encourage our clients to spend time at our agency office to get a feel for our culture. Our culture is clearly seen in the personal inter-dynamics and energy in our corridors.
To learn more about how BBN could be the B2B agency partner you are looking for, go to: