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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Agency During the Recession?

Published: January 18, 2023

Author: Laura Colton


Marketing during an economic downturn requires adaptability, resilience, and agility, and you must not allow fear and uncertainty to guide your strategy or decisions. This is when marketers should be proactive, rather than reactive, to turbulent conditions. That means finding ways to ensure your brand survives an economic downturn and remains nimble to address economic changes. The smartest agencies can increase the return on your marketing investment and drive growth, while the worst agencies waste your time and money. We’ve compiled a checklist of things to review for your agency.

Does your agency take a holistic approach, or do they execute and measure individual channel performance in a siloed structure?

Your agency should ensure that your marketing goals are strategically aligned with your company’s broader objectives. Additionally, your agency should also understand that you need a full-funnel strategy to hit every touchpoint aligned across various channels throughout the entire consumer journey. Don’t eschew longer-term, upper-funnel brand-building efforts to focus on driving quick wins with short-term, bottom-funnel performance tactics. Do BOTH.

Les Binet and Peter Field’s ‘The Long and Short of It’ research reveals the importance of finding the right balance between long-term marketing tactics versus short-term tactics that require fast, immediate results. The study concludes that the ideal spot for marketers is to spend about 60% of their budget on long-term brand marketing campaigns and 40% on short-term activations. This remains true during a recession.

A good agency will also recommend starting with an advertising audit to get a pressure check on where your brand currently stands, what you should continue doing, and what you need to change.

Is your agency measuring the metrics that matter most to you?

When utilized strategically, data will help you take action to optimize marketing efforts. It’s essential that your agency understands what metrics you care about and that you both agree on a set of KPIs that will improve outcomes. In the face of an economic downturn, it’s more crucial than ever to show your team’s contribution to the bottom line and justify your budget. Your agency should be looking at both growth AND performance metrics.

  • Growth metrics
    • Loyalty and retention metrics like churn rates and lifetime customer value.
    • Brand reputation, recommendation, or satisfaction.
    • Brand “lift” including brand awareness, perception, and intent to buy.
    • The brand’s impact on the bottom line.
  • Performance metrics
    • Specific channels and activity-based metrics, like clicks and conversions.
    • Marketing funnel metrics and multi-touch attribution.
    • Tracking spend and return on investments in media placements and advertising/marketing contribution to the business.

An unstable economy means constant shifts and unpredictable changes in consumer behavior, meaning it’s more important than ever to have metrics that provide insights into your buyers’ journey. Ensure your agency has an agile mindset, can stay nimble, and adjust your strategies and marketing efforts accordingly to reach your audience effectively.

Does your agency have automated reporting?

Consistently reporting your results regularly helps provide insights into the overall health of the brand and demonstrates how your team is providing value. Your agency should be continuously measuring progress and pinpointing actionable steps to improve your performance so that you can make agile adjustments when necessary. Automated reporting allows you to analyze the data and analytics in real-time to meet marketing goals, establish benchmarks, and show that your efforts are paying off.

It’s crucial to have a strong automated reporting approach implemented so that you can quickly overcome issues and understand how campaigns are reaching goals, generating sales leads, and attaining revenue growth. This is especially critical during a recession. Ultimately, if you aren’t receiving timely updates and are in the dark when it comes to course-correcting, you’re most likely losing money. Ensure that your agency has automated reports set up with daily triggers to inform performance fluctuations and future decision-making and processes.

Is your agency consistently giving you the insight you need and prioritizing knowledge-sharing and innovation?

The communication lines between you and your agency should always be open and clear to keep the relationship on track. Your agency should regularly be up-to-date on the best practices within the industry, and they should be consistently sharing new learnings and findings. To stay ahead of the competition, your agency should also have a strong focus on identifying new ways to innovate across all channels. Open dialogue with your agency allows for more creative thinking and productive conversations and helps foster mutual respect.

When done right, a strong relationship between clients and agencies can be the key to outlasting a recession, growing your brand, and increasing market share. To help navigate the tough times ahead, take 3Q/DEPT’s Growth Marketing Assessment to gain clarity around your marketing plan, help identify strengths and areas for growth, and better optimize your marketing strategies.


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