How to Choose the Right TV Media Agency
With so many different types of agencies and options for buying media, how do you know who to partner with? There are branding agencies, direct response agencies, brand response agencies, integrated agencies, 360 agencies, and many times you can’t figure out what the difference is. First you need to figure out what your objectives and goals are. Are you looking to build brand awareness? Or, are you trying to drive traffic to your site or app downloads? Maybe it’s a combination of both? For many, paid media is the single best investment for their brand. So a misstep in partnering with an agency that does not understand how to effectively meet your objectives could be a costly one.
Here are a few easy questions to make sure you’re on the right track:
What kind of company do they keep?
Ask about the agency’s client roster. Who do they work with, how long have they kept these clients, and how have they helped them grow? These questions will help you figure out client satisfaction.
A changing client roster is not necessarily bad, but it’s important to hire an agency with a strong track record. Long-term clients can mean that an agency is able to adapt to multiple stages of your business. After all, an agency may be great at launching a product but can they also help sustain growth if your business transitions from e-commerce only to retail distribution? Can they handle increasing competition in your space?
What industries do they have experience with?
A media agency with experience in your industry can be beneficial – but more important than direct experience with your specific industry is experience with your target audience. An agency that has clients with similar customer profiles can utilize data and insights from past experience to develop effective plans to reach your audience. And if they have multiple clients and industries with the same audience target, the data set they have to pull from is even more robust. Be cautious though, just because the agency has the right experience, does not mean that they will utilize this experience to help with your business – which brings us to the next point – what tools do they use for planning and optimization?
What kind of tools do they use?
There are many types of tools available to help with planning, analytics, reporting and optimization. And most media agencies will use some of the same tools – like Kantar and MRI to help with planning. But are there any proprietary tools that give the agency an advantage that other agencies don’t have? If your objectives include driving response of any kind, whether visits to your website, ordering product, or downloading an app, you should look for an agency partner that has an extra layer of knowledge beyond just the standard tools.
Next you should ask, once the initial media plan is launched, how often the agency analyzes and optimizes the plan? Is it a set it and forget it model? Or do they have tools that can properly report on attribution to make ongoing adjustments that ensure your plan delivers the ROI you are looking for? And speaking of ROI, does the agency have tools that can help you measure the ROI of your campaigns? If your goals are only to raise brand awareness, this may not be as important to you, but if you are looking to have your campaigns drive measurable sales growth, then you need to be sure that your media partner has the right tools in place to deliver on that goal.
What are the people like?
Remember, hiring a media agency means hiring a team of people. What is the account manager’s availability and response like? You want to make sure you can see yourself long-term with a person or team who are easy to work with and add value to your business. Will you have access to team members who will help drive strategy and truly understand your business to make the right decisions on behalf of your business? Or will your account be relegated to junior staff and order takers?
Finding the right media agency can be a challenging task. But you can start by asking these simple questions to find the best agency for you and your business.
(As published in the May 2012 issue of Response Magazine) Not many leaders in the direct response industry can call on more than a quarter-century of experience when making big decisions for their clients. But Nancy Lazkani, president and CEO of Icon Media Direct in Los Angeles, is one of them, notching 27 years in
Nancy Lazkani moderates panel on How Television fits into the Digital Conversation to Fuel Growth Growing a brand with an increasingly fragmented media landscape creates the need for marketers to look at their business on a performance based model. Consumers are watching TV differently today and multi-tasking on mobile devices while doing it. In this