LEVER 3: SELECTING PROVIDERS AND MANAGING PERFORMANCE
“Outsourcing is strategically and economically smart, but it’s only as good as your partner selection and project management & relationship capabilities”
If businesses want to optimise their marketing performance and growth objectives they need to apply greater rigour and openness towards searching and selecting the providers best suited to meet their specific needs and applying a more disciplined structured approach to managing projects and partner relationships.
1. DO A QUICK SELF ASSESSMENT
Try answering the questions below yourself to get a general sense of what may be missing or adrift from your current provider selection and performance management practices and then focus on capturing opportunities for improvement and growth.
2. BENCHMARK TO OUR BETTER PRACTICE STANDARD
In collaboration with our independent specialist provider partner network we are continually developing better practice standard frameworks across multiple marketing disciplines from which our business members can benchmark their current practices against and more readily identify opportunities for improvement and growth.
SELECTING & MANAGING PERFORMANCE OF PROVIDERS
Many businesses continue to engage agencies or specialists with whom they have long standing relationships regardless of whether they have the required expertise for the issue in hand. This invariably entails the sub contracting and/ or offshoring of the work by their long standing agency to another entity which dilutes the effectiveness and adds to less control and the cost of dealing through a third party provider.
Changes due to digitisation have spawned a whole new market of specialists agencies.
Finding the best fit partner takes time , however the investment in time well spent will pay significant dividends in performance and cost. Dont limit your search to those you are familar with and broaden your search Australia-wide.
Effective and efficient marketing practices today are increasingly dependent upon smart usage of technologies and data which in turn has spawned an ever-increasing and diverse landscape of specialist solutions and providers with the skills needed to meet the dynamics and demands of modern marketing presents. Keeping up with the rapid rate of changes in technologies , platforms and consumer behaviour is more demanding and challenging than ever. Accordingly specialists are generally best placed to keep up and undertand the nuiances of their market and ensure you manover effectively and efficiently.
Marketing Search acknowledges the integrated value proposition of full service agency offerrings however whilst appealing in logic, in practice often difficult to provide without scale.
Before you proceed to search for a marketing provider, ask yourself these six key questions:
- Have you developed a marketing plan/strategy?
- Have you devised your key strategies and undertaken research to segment and target your market?
- Are you clear about your purpose and the desired outcomes?
- Have you considered what resources will be available to you?
- Do you have an understanding of the tactics you will use to successfully deliver on the strategy?
- Have you set priorities and assigned responsibilities, time frames and measures for the project?
When you can answer yes to all these key points, you will be in a much better position to proceed with finding the right marketing service provider to fit the needs of your budget, timeframe, resources and project requirements.
Briefs act as a form of contract between clients and agencies and vary in content depending on the activity being undertaken. The primary purpose of a brief is to provide clear direction on what’s important, while clarifying the problems you’re seeking to address.
Spending time writing a brief, no matter how short, will pay significant dividends in the long term, as it generally leads to better work and saves money and time for all.
The act of writing things down forces you to think more deeply about your issues. More often than not, creating a brief will result in you changing your initial approach.
Have you provided the basic information below to give to potential marketing providers?
- Background of the business, marketing strategies and why this new project is important
- Marketing goals/objectives (what you are setting out to achieve)
- Brand overview (brand identity, market positioning, what the brand stands for, what’s unique, etc)
- Insights into your target audience
- Project timeframes
- Work allocations (client verses provider)
- Budget parameters
- Agreed KPI and performance measurements
- Communication processes (how you wish your provider to respond/report and give access)
- Approvals (signatures of those issuing/approving the brief and the agency.)
The selection and management of outsourced providers amongst small to medium businesses is generally poorly considered and managed. Selection is often determined through minimal research and limited to seeking well intended referrals of a friend or a business associate with little knowledge of what makes for the right match.There are many issues to carefully consider in selecting a suitable agency partner.
Do not rely on welll intended friend referrals nor accept first off their state capabilities.
Understand who will be doing the work , are they sub contracting the work to others or off-shoring
both of which can add to risk and costs?
Look at their retention of staff as a key indicator to ensure reliability.
Limit your request for proposals and shortlisting to no more than 3 providers.
Always measure proposals against the value they will deliver and not the cheapest price upfront.
Agencies that are open to consider all or part of their remuneration being dependent on achieving projected and agreed performance outcomes are highly commended , however attribution measures need to be measurable and clear from outset.
3. GROWTH CONTENT : SELECTION AND PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT OF PROVIDERS
In collaboration with our independent specialist provider partner & expert community we share strategic growth specific content centred on better practices in selection and performance management of outsourced marketing providers.
4. GET SUPPORT AND TAKE ACTION
Need some expert advice before you dive into the provider search , selection and management ?
Get in touch with us at Marketing Search and get answers to all your questions.
We’ll explore your current approach and recommend ways you can improve your search , selection and management of providers.
5. CHECK OUT OUR 6 ADDITIONAL MARKETING GROWTH LEVERS