As the demand for marketing automation has grown, so have the types of agencies that provide expertise in this sector. The scale of service providers can vary widely, from solo consultants to large digital agencies, as can the associated terms and contracts. Here we look at a couple of considerations that can influence how accounts are set up and managed.
Getting familiar with a new account may disproportionately put a lot of work towards the front end of a relationship. In such cases, a retainer can balance the up front investment over the long-haul. With an assurance of cost recovery in place, agencies can confidently dive deep and quickly gain valuable insights about a new client’s business. On the other side of the desk, a retainer guarantees a window of service availability every month, and ensures that an account won’t be relegated to second or third place, should the overall pace of work intensify at the agency. This is especially useful for business sectors that are strongly influenced by seasonal activity.
A retainer agreement, however, requires a high degree of trust between both parties, as it is easy to misattribute time, or have different interpretations of how much effort is required to execute standard tasks and projects. In short, retainers can enhance the quality of work, but are best entered into after an initial trial period. For that reason, it is advisable to look for an agency that is willing to bill according to the hour, or fraction of the hour, at least at the beginning of a relationship.
The internal structure of an agency greatly influences the way that an account will be managed. In general, there are two dominant models. The first involves assigning an account executive who delegates tasks to the technical team. This can work well in scenarios where the marketing automation campaign is mature and tasks have become routine. In such scenarios, the account executive can translate operational workings back in a predictable and scheduled fashion. If your management team requires interpretive, polished reports that have been vetted of technical jargon, then this might be the way to go.
If, however, your business objectives are frequently in flux and you require solid answers in real time, then it is best to seek out an agency where that offers a one-to-one working relationship. In this second scenario you are connected directly to the technician who is executing the work. Although answers to questions may be slightly unvarnished at times, you will be getting accurate news in real time about your account. This is an excellent model if you have to pivot quickly, and respond to competitor challenges or changing market conditions.
It is useful to take the above options into consideration when selecting a marketing automation service provider. We would be pleased to continue this conversation on a more personable basis and discuss how work with Marketing Automation Canada could be structured to your unique requirements.