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Today’s customer journey is a fragmented experience flowing across multiple channels and touchpoints. While this is known and widely accepted, most advertising agencies are dedicated to specific channels and services, which forces their clients to vet, hire, and manage multiple vendors that work in siloes and compete for attribution and budgets.
Digital advertising agencies typically offer services to support specific channels such as paid search, display advertising, search engine optimization, social advertising, and/or marketplace advertising (e.g., Amazon Ads). Whereas, traditional ad agencies offer media planning and buying across print, TV/CTV/OTT, radio/streaming audio, and/or outdoor. Then you have an entire world of creative agencies that offer branding, audience development, advertisements, and related services.
Whether you are an agency or a brand, this situation is untenable. The reality is that in order to grow your business fast, it is best to test with a channel agnostic approach to identify top performers and appropriately allocate resources (e.g., budgets, headcount, time, etc.). Ultimately, finding your performance drivers and allocating your resources to them as quickly as possibly is the key to accelerating growth.
From a Brand’s Perspective
As a brand, working with channel specific agencies means you will most likely receive reports that favor the channels they support. For example, if you hire two different agencies, their ability to retain you as a client has less to do with the actual health and growth of your business, and most to do with their ability to influence the perception that their channels are performing.
Additionally, having different agencies across different channels creates challenges with vendor management, cross-channel planning, creative consistency, multi-touch attribution and optimization. To highlight this, it is common to see multiple vendors and channels claim credit for the same lead, customer, and/or order.
All of this leads to ambiguous insights, poor decision making, inefficient resource allocation, underperformance, and slowed growth.
From an Agency’s Perspective
As an agency, being dedicated to specific channels within the customer journey may seem ideal at first, as it will allow you to lower costs, simplify and focus your operation, and build a reputation for being great at one to a few things. The reality is that it ultimately leads to lacking differentiation, higher client churn rates, varying degrees of performance across verticals and clients, and lack of control to consistently drive optimal client outcomes.
For example, many brands cannot compete on paid search, especially those in their early stages or highly competitive markets. If you are a digital agency that focuses on Google Ads as your bread and butter, you will likely never be able to retain these types of clients, and when you fail to do so, it actually ends up hurting your reputation and slows your growth in the process.
Taking it a step further, let’s say that your paid search campaigns are working very well, and all of the sudden there is a huge drop in results. After a ton of investigating, you realize that you did not change anything, but the client stopped running or changed their television campaigns with their other agency. Having no insights and/or control over the many other strategies and tactics that feed the funnel make it difficult for you to drive results for your client and control outcomes. And here is where you find out how wrong you were assuming the whole time that your paid search ads were primarily responsible for their own performance.
Accelerating the growth of a business requires strategic experimentation. And within experimentation there are most often many failures and few wins. Many agencies will spend inordinate amounts of time trying to fix failures or weaknesses within their specific channels – often resulting in little to no improvements for the majority of their efforts. These issues exacerbate over time as there is less and less to optimize within a specific channel, leading to diminishing returns.
If you are a client of, or work for, a channel specific agency, this is likely something you’ve experienced. You get to the point that you cannot take an account or campaign further and get stuck. The fact is the best growth marketers will tell you that success doesn’t come from wasting time trying to fix what doesn’t work – it’s all about identifying what does work as quickly as possible and allocating your resources accordingly.
For example, maybe you’ve found that 100 of your 10,000 keywords in your Google Ads campaigns actually meet or are within striking distance of your goals. Are you going to spend significant resources building new ads, landing pages, and funnels for your other keywords even though they aren’t close to performant? If you are a digital marketing or paid search agency the answer is most likely yes because you have no other options. If you are a channel agnostic agency responsible for driving business growth the answer is most definitely no. The idea is to stop doing what isn’t working and double down on your wins as quickly as possible in order to increase the velocity of performance and growth.
Channel agnostic agencies experiment with many different channels, mediums, sources, and audiences to identify scale and efficiency that supports optimal velocity for performance and growth. These agencies are best equipped to research, plan, and execute growth strategies and tactics with efficacy because they can control the entire customer journey, basing their success on the health and growth of the actual business instead of a specific channel.
Channel agnostic agencies seek to provide the most accurate and appropriate attribution for all marketing and advertising efforts so they can truly understand what is driving the most value. They work to ensure there are no discrepancies in attribution models, duplicate attribution issues, egregious or inconsistent lookback windows across channels, or any other tomfoolery. Why is this important? Unfortunately, many channel specific agencies are forced to set attribution models and lookback windows for their channels and platforms in order to favor their reports. Instead of worrying about what is driving the most growth for the business, these agencies are worried about what gives them the most credit.
Brands Love Channel Agnostic Agencies
It makes sense for both brands and agencies to go channel agnostic. In fact, brands often refer to these types of agencies as strategic partners due to the deep nature of their relationship. As a result, channel-agnostic agencies experience higher client satisfaction rates, retention rates, viral coefficients, and lifetime values than their peers.
Being truly channel agnostic requires an agency to have the experience, capabilities, tools, frameworks, and processes to define success, forecast viable channels, develop an iterative testing plan, and deliver rapid feedback loops.
Unfortunately, it is challenging for brands to cut through the noise and find a truly channel agnostic agency to hire. Most agencies that say they support multiple channels actually plan and execute within specific channel teams with no plans, frameworks, or processes for prioritized cross-channel experimentation.
Are you interested in connecting with a channel agnostic performance marketing agency that has over 55 years of experience helping businesses and brands perform and grow? SR&B Advertising would be happy to connect with you! We have the client satisfaction rates, retention rates, viral coefficients, experience, and results to provide insights that will help you understand how a channel agnostic approach can accelerate your growth. Contact us today!