3 Questions Your Media Agency Doesn’t Want You to Ask

November 19, 2020

Every marketer buying media wants to know one thing: Are the dollars making a difference?

But it’s not easy to get this answered. Media agency reporting can be cluttered with complex terms and measurements dressed up in beautiful presentations. Many media-buying agencies call themselves consultative partners, but rarely stray from their comfort zone.

It’s on marketers to flip the conversation by asking three simple and direct questions.

1. Are you doing what we’re paying you to do?

This usually comes down to pacing and buying. Most agencies do an okay job of pacing and they demonstrate this through progress plans. These reports show resources spent and channels deployed against a media budget.

Consider these questions when reviewing these reports:

  • Is the agency spending your money at the rate they promised?
  • Is that money being allocated to the discussed channels?

These are questions that most agencies should be able to answer easily.

2. Did it work?

Most agencies struggle to answer this question because measurement isn’t built into their model or has been cut from a proposal to make a bid more competitive. Not good. Now, the agency is spending your money but not demonstrating the value of that spend.

Some fake their way through an answer, discussing click-through rates that exceed the national average, for example. Yes, those are measures, but does it answer the important question—what does that mean for your business?

3. What’s going to happen next?

This question is really tough for most. If an agency can’t tell you how your media mix performed, how can they advise you on what to do next?

Only agencies that have these tools in place can answer this question:

  • Comprehensive research, modeling and testing tools and methodologies.
  • Modeling methods that don’t rely solely on historic data (Strategic Mix Modeling) or granular data to adjust campaigns (Digital Response Modeling), but apply more near-term models (Tactical Mix Modeling) that look at all channels, including impact of online, offline, instore and OOH.
  • Faster processes that integrate content creation and production into the media planning and buying cycles. This streamlines campaign creation, testing, and measurement strategies to make faster adjustments and outpace expectations.

These methods guide future efforts using data. However, if your media agency doesn’t have these capabilities, properly forecasting future initiatives becomes impossible.

If you don’t ask, you’re not doing your job

This is the time to show your value to the business. Turn the media spend conversation to results and how they impact the business and future decisions. Find out if the dollars are working by asking tough questions of your agency. If they can’t answer or deliver, move on.