The partnerships between clients and agencies can often be fraught with opacity, distrust, and inefficiency. To help improve these collaborations and avoid common pitfalls, ANA contributors offered the following five recommendations.
- Agency Compensation: When organizations evaluate agency compensation, they often focus on the hourly rate to the exclusion of all other considerations, according to Decideware, a software company that helps manage the spending and performance of agency partners. Organizations, however, should also weigh other factors that can influence the ultimate cost and quality of the deliverables. These factors include the total hours required for the contracted work as well as the seniority and functional mix of the agency personnel that are to be assigned to it.
- Agency Staffing: To enable clearer vetting of agency staffing choices, Decideware urged brands to standardize the titles that they use to identify agency personnel. An organization can even require agencies to self-identify by selecting their staff members’ titles from a dropdown menu on spreadsheets that the brand provides. This approach will enable the brand to more easily spot senior (and expensive) agency personnel who are assigned to low-complexity work. A brand will also want to look carefully for staff members whose time the agency has allocated to its projects in an amount that exceeds 100 percent of an FTE.
- Creative Asset Management: The need to manually relay creative assets between clients, creative agencies, and media agencies can lead to errors and inefficiencies. Using a centralized, permissions-based advertising cloud can prevent these undesirable outcomes as it streamlines relationships with vendors, according to software company Extreme Reach. The technology’s other advantages include its abilities to facilitate the implementation of Ad-Id and automatically transcode files into various formats.
- Rights Management: George Hammer, chief content officer at IBM, anticipated a time in the not-so-distant future in which blockchain technology would be able to track not just financial transactions, but also rights to content. Such an innovation would provide resilient clarity on questions of ownership that can become muddied over time.
- Accounting: Technological advancements stand to improve not just the way that clients conduct business, but the way that agencies do as well. The same technology that has enabled programmatic media buying can also be used to automate the more menial tasks required of accounts-payable teams — tasks such as the manual processing of payments. Freed from the demands of such drudgery, the teams’ time can be redirected to higher-level projects and strategic planning, unlocking capabilities that can benefit agency and client alike.
"Managing Agency Relations: Five Tips for Efficiency and Transparency." ANA, 2018.