Marketing Collaborators Lack Harmony

In digital marketing today, brands, agencies, and tech vendors all play distinct and vital roles in the creation, running, and measurement of advertising campaigns.

Brands possess intimate knowledge of their products and objectives; agencies serve as creative powerhouses, orchestrators, and mediators; and tech vendors champion and enable in-depth audience analysis and razor-sharp consumer targeting.

But new research commissioned by DataXu from research agency Sapio suggests that the members of this marketing trio aren’t always acting in harmony. For instance, 62% of brands and 72% of media agencies in the U.K. say they find it challenging to get valuable KPIs from each other. From misunderstandings to discrepant preferences, brands, agencies, and tech vendors sometimes act more like competitive solo artists than a three-part chorus.

In order to strengthen the quality and success of their campaigns, all three need to see the individual roles they perform as complementary, with brands holding the tune, and agencies and tech vendors supporting in harmony. Despite their discrepant views, research reveals that brands and agencies are willing to communicate about them—85% of brands and 72% of media agencies in the U.K. say that they would challenge the KPIs presented by the other. By sharing knowledge and forging transparent, three-way relationships, brands, agencies, and marketers will be better equipped to design and run successful digital marketing solutions.

Get To Know One Another
Agencies and tech vendors share a common goal of supporting brands in their marketing objectives, but you’d be hard pressed to find all three meeting regularly in the same room. As a result, brands, agencies, and tech vendors often focus on their own roles without fully understanding the challenges and pressures the others face. To solve this problem, the marketing trio needs to be dedicated to getting to know one another—and that means getting together to share knowledge and educate one another.

A transparent relationship and sharing of data and insights can play a key role in the relationship between the three parties. This can range from kickoff meetings to set specific campaign metrics to choosing marketing software. In many cases, the brand owns these contracts, but agencies often get involved in the day-to-day set-up and are, ultimately, the users of these tools.

One thing that will certainly be beneficial for all involved is gaining greater insight into a brand’s business objectives.

Settle Your Differences
One common point of discord between brands and agencies is the way each party defines and measures success. Although the majority of brands and media agencies in the U.K. say that setting KPIs is collaborative, they don’t always—or often—agree on which KPIs are best. For example, DataXu’s research suggests that most agencies in the U.K. prefer to focus on ROI (46%) and website visits (34%), while U.K.-based brands tend to measure conversion rates (36%) and shares or likes (34%). Moreover, when asked about setting KPIs, 77% of U.K. brands feel very certain they know which KPIs are best. Not far behind, 57% of media agencies expressed similar feelings about their own ability to know best.

These results point to a serious need for the digital marketing trio to reconcile how they define their marketing goals and set KPIs. Moreover, they point to a need for all parties to make sure they are communicating in an open and transparent way.

Perfecting Measurement
Even when brands are able to reconcile their KPIs through greater collaboration and sound communication, they’ll still need to perfect their methods for measuring them. In fact, brands and agencies often lack robust statistical methods for quantifying results such as marketing ROI. Consequently, they sometimes employ misleading metrics and confuse correlation for causation. For example, a mobile operator may often assume that if a consumer downloads a new product brochure, they’re going to sign up for a new contract. But this is an assumptive correlation not backed up by solid data.

Today, however, brands and agencies have the technology to understand how marketing investment relates directly to sales. Whatever KPIs they agree upon can—and should—be measured this way. Tech partners with sophisticated measuring tools can offer education and support.

When brands, agencies, and tech vendors start working together efficiently to orchestrate their digital ad campaigns, they’ll be better able to capitalise on the best of their abilities. Through transparent communication, they can merge the brand’s intimate knowledge of its products and objectives, the agency’s creativity and management skills, and the tech provider’s commitment to data-driven insights for a truly successful performance.

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