The Evolution of Marketing Agencies

How firms need to think more like business managers

As a frequent attendee of local marketing association events, I am perplexed by the occurrence of regular, prevailing discussions that focus more on areas such as the best use of social media and less on aligning the campaign’s goals and metrics with that of the corporation as a whole. The days of such practices are numbered to say the least.


The old adage is true – if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever get there? Good campaigns focus on developing impactful, creative and powerful messages that generate expected, desired and measurable calls to action. This is where many marketing agencies fall short; determining the success or failure of a campaign must be based upon a clearly defined set of quantifiable and relevant business objectives.  

A Business Leader First, A Marketing Expert Second

In effectively measuring the value of campaigns, marketing agencies must recognize that they are business managers first and marketing professionals second.  Before any tactical initiatives are drafted, the account team must thoroughly understand their clients’ plan for the initiative in question, such as a product or service launch. Secondly, the agency must have a working knowledge of the established goals for their counterparts in sales, product management and other relevant areas.  This is critical; only by understanding each business unit’s objectives will marketing agencies be able to align programs and resources to support its goals.

Lastly, firms must also clearly be aware of how the organization’s executive team measures success.  While sales may be the most frequent answer, other aspects of the business may also be as valued, such as:

  • Profit margins,
  • Distribution and technology partner agreements,
  • Investor interest,
  • Rate of customer acquisition,
  • Strategic product roadmap,
  • Average sale price per customer and so on.

Marketing agencies will fail to realize true success if their evaluation differs – or worst case contradicts – the criteria of the organization as a whole.

Align Your Promotion Campaigns Accordingly

With the business goals identified and understood, most marketing firms will create tailored messaging for each audience segment they target.  That’s certainly no surprise. However, many will stop at just understanding the unique communication barriers of each group and not what will get them to respond in a way that supports the established objective.  For a campaign to reach its strategic goals, agencies must understand the interdependencies of each stakeholder group – such as decision makers, influencers and end users – and how their organization can solve their specific problems or needs, and how to get them engaged in the discussion.  


Change For The Better
Marketing agencies that embrace the need for their efforts to be measured based on their impact to a company’s business goals will realize greater client acquisition, retention and referral rates. Moreover, firms will also find themselves spending more time in the strategic service of their organizations, and less time explaining its value. In essence, marketing agencies can commit to achieving results that matter – and reap the rewards as a result.