If you know one thing about M/C/C, it’s probably the value we put on research. Understanding internal and market perspectives and the gaps between them are invaluable to developing a marketing strategy. So, it’s only appropriate – natural, really – that M/C/C performs some research on itself from time to time. Day in and day out, we need to deliver against our clients’ business objectives and their personal expectations of us, their marketing agency.
Over the last couple of months, M/C/C embarked on its own research study to reset its understanding on what marketers – our clients and prospects – find important and value most. Understanding this perspective should help keep our existing relationships healthy and impact our approach to reaching and securing new clients.
M/C/C polled marketers on a variety of subjects, such as:
- Importance and priority of decision-making attributes
- Current pain points and marketing issues
- Qualities of an ideal agency
The results shouldn’t really whip our heads back. Hopefully the results will just help confirm what we already believe to be true and be in sync with our current approach to managing and building new relationships. Let’s take a look.
- Understanding business objectives
- Proactively delivering new ideas
- Creative thinking
- Constantly thinking about company needs
- Accountability vs. objectives
- Providing insightful/actionable data
M/C/C’s clients and prospects were consistent in their top priorities for selecting an advertising/PR agency. An agency’s ability to understand a company’s business objectives was rated highest. All marketing objectives aside, like awareness and conversions, it’s critical for an agency to understand where its clients’ businesses are going and consider how that may impact their approach to marketing it. Does the company plan for aggressive growth? Perhaps preparing to go public? Maybe it’s even setting itself up for an acquisition. These considerations are important, so it makes sense that understanding business objectives ranked highest.
Additional top priorities when selecting a marketing agency included proactively delivering new ideas and advice, thinking creatively across disciplines and constantly thinking about their company’s needs. Being proactive and good counselors to our clients is core to M/C/C’s culture. As their agency, we believe it’s our responsibility to stay out front in clients’ markets identifying opportunities to leverage and challenges to address. Sometimes we have to tell them what they don’t want to hear. Rounding out the list of top priorities for selecting an advertising/PR agency included being accountable vs. objectives and being able to provide insightful/actionable data. In this age of big data, so much is trackable and agencies must stand behind that performance. It’s not enough to be able to spit out a bunch of numbers, but an agency should also be able to help its clients understand that data and educate them on what to do with it.
Pain Points and Marketing Issues:
Marketers had a range of pain points and marketing issues. Some pointed to market positioning and messaging, while others pointed to showing ROI and continuous improvement. And of course, there were a handful of the classic responses including lack of resources and budget.
The variety of responses helps illustrate how unique each client is. Because of that, M/C/C doesn’t approach clients with cookie-cutter marketing solutions. You can’t simply show them an à la carte menu. You have to understand the company’s current situation and what they hope to accomplish. With such understanding, you can be strong consultants and develop impactful marketing recommendations to move their business forward.
Qualities of an Ideal Agency:
Some of the most common adjectives used by clients and prospects to describe their ideal agency included creative, responsive, flexible and knowledgeable. To be fair, I think most ad agencies are creative, but I think the other descriptors start to create separation. I’ve heard of experiences with other agencies who claim to be responsive, only to keep their clients waiting and in the dark. Same goes for flexibility. An agency claims to be flexible and says it will do whatever it takes, only to become rigid once a contract is signed. At M/C/C, these qualities fit right into our business approach. We’re creative, responsive and flexible. As an independent agency, we can really do things however we want, as long as they are fair to both parties. And finally, we know our clients’ businesses. We thrive on them. We’re closet nerds and have no problem geeking out over electronic components, data centers or even real estate!
At the end of the day, the goal of this research study was to practice what we preach – understand marketers’ priorities, identify any gaps within our perceptions and optimize our approach accordingly to serve our clients better.
And P.S. – on a 7-point scale with 1 representing “not at all satisfied” and 7 representing “completely satisfied,” M/C/C’s clients ranked us a 6.56 – almost completely satisfied. So, if you are in the market for a new advertising/PR agency, let’s talk. We have a few references we can share.