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  • Writer's pictureIgnite

What do brands need from their agencies?

As agencies it’s very easy to assume what our clients want, but it’s always the same assumptions; “Increase ROI, lower costs”. Our clients demand more out of their agencies though, even if they don’t know it.


What brands believe they want versus what they really need from their agencies are usually two different tracks. Typically what clients believe they want revolve around 3 key things:

  1. The need to increase return on investments (ROI)

  2. The need to lower customer-acquisition-costs (CAC) costs

  3. The need to break through a crowded market

While the above three are of importance, they tend to be subsets of greater desires that brands look to their agencies to handle or shed light on. These deeper needs will enable brands to continue differentiating themselves in an overcrowded market and push KPIs to boundaries unknown. These needs tend to be:

  1. Identifying problems and proactively solving them through derived insights

  2. Building trust through transparency

  3. Flexibility to adjust marketing solutions to capitalize on market trends

  4. Diversify solution offering for additional value add

  5. Identify new areas of opportunity from data

Identifying problems and proactively solving them through derived insights

Brands lean on their agencies to be able to identify problems with their current marketing strategy and provide recommendations to fix them. They need to know that their agencies are staying up to date on their campaigns performances and new areas of testing to elevate the success. All too often agencies tend to be order takers, doing what brands tell them to do and not recommending new ideas based on performance insights.

A client wants social media management, so the agency posts on social media.

The problem with this is that you’re simply providing a service; you’re not providing value add. That’s what brands need.

How do we identify that value add though? First, agencies need to dig REALLY deep into the request. What is the root problem that this request is stemming from? Usually that problem is the need to elevate ROI, lower cost-per-acquisition, or attract a new audience demographics.

Then the agency can recommend optimal pathways to success with a myriad of solutions, not just “post on social media” as mentioned above. Perhaps posting organically won’t be attractive to your audience, but going live once a week with product or solution demos may be the key to engaging with your audience.

Identifying the best path forward needs to be derived from insights garnished from 1st and 3rd party data sources. By focusing on insights from data, agencies begin to uncover the “unknown”, becoming more attractive to their clients.

Building trust through transparency

Agencies are representatives of their brand clients, becoming an extension of their teams. The most successful client - agency relationships are built on a foundation of trust, which can only be built off of clear and total transparency.

This means transparency in fees, marketing & advertising spend, performance metrics, relationship speed bumps - but also transparency with recommendations, what consumers think of a brand and insights derived from data.

Brands need to know the good, the bad and the ugly from their agency partners in order to optimize and connect strongly with their audience base.

Transparency is more than just honesty; it’s efficiency. When brands are investing significant resources into their marketing strategies, they need to know that their company goals are being met and exceeded with solid ROI. Given today’s advancements in technology, agencies should be providing brands full visibility into their workflows and campaign performance.

By providing this level of visibility into the client’s strategy workflows and performance, agencies are able to build trust with their clients. This trust is critical and vital for a successful partnership.

Flexibility to adjust marketing solutions to capitalize on market trends

One of the biggest challenges we hear at Ignite Marketing Solutions is agencies not providing flexibility where needed to capitalize on market trends. This may include agencies not allowing changes to monthly contracted solutions, not being able to shift budgets from one solution to another, or the agency not moving quick enough to capitalize on low-hanging fruit opportunities.

As an agency, our client’s benefit comes before anything. Period. Brands need the flexibility to be able to benefit from moving industry or marketplace trends, but it’s the agency's job to stay on top of these movements and provide recommendations.

For example, when TikTok launched and went viral (pretty much overnight) brands flocked to the social channel, wanting to capitalize on a growing user base. We had a client that wanted to move their email budget to their social media budget in order to use TikTok, but when they approached their Account Manager the client was in the mindset that we wouldn’t allow that.

That’s not how we run things. Not only did we allow the client to shift their budget, but we provided a flexible payment plan to enable the brand to continue email as part of their lifecycle strategy to continue increasing customer retention and client lifetime value.

This provided the client with the flexibility needed to capitalize on a new market trend, still maintain their current solution strategy, and grow their customer base by 5X.

Diversify solution offering for additional value add

Brands go to agencies because of the value add they can bring to their business. They understand that agencies are built around certain expertise that they can bring to the tablet; advertising, email, creative, digital, etc. Within the agency's expertise, clients expect a diversified solution offering that the brand can utilize to increase key performance metrics.

What does this mean? Let’s look at an example of a digital solution offering. It’s great if the agency offers Digital Marketing solutions, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s expected by the brand is the agency can perform all paid media across all channels; Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Social and 3rd party DSPs. Then they expect the agency to be able to dive into the performance metrics to pull insights for ad optimizations, new audiences to target, or enhancements to the customer experience (funnel). Afterwards, the brand expects the agency to collate everything together into a cohesive strategy that continues to drive the brand’s business objectives.

From here brand’s need to ensure their current solutions marry every other aspect of their marketing strategy for a seamless consumer experience. They lean on the agency to be able to connect this experience together, so it’s imperative that agencies have a solid understanding of all other marketing channels as well. The agency doesn’t need to be an expert in, let’s say, experiential marketing, but they need to be able to connect the digital media journey with the experiential one (using the example above).

Identify new areas of opportunity from data

Last, but certainly not least, brand’s DEMAND that agencies can decipher new paths to market, optimizations in their current strategies, or recommendations for enhancing the customer experience through data. Data will make or break a brand’s business, so ensuring their agency can navigate through the multitude of performance data is imperative.

It’s the agency’s responsibility to ensure they are combing through the data to identify areas of opportunity. These may be new audiences to attract that are showing interest in the brand, new technologies that can be used to garnish additional insights, or issues within the customer journey that are keeping people from converting. In addition, staying on top of current performance data may identify areas to lower cost per acquisition models to achieve even greater results.

Whatever the end goal is for the brand, it’s the agency’s job to ensure they meet and exceed those goals. Though brands sometimes believe they know what they want from their agencies, it’s up to the agencies themselves to know what the brands need.


Ignite Marketing Solutions offers CMO-level expertise with a month-to-month, á la carte model, providing you the flexibility needed to boost marketing ROI.

Reach out to us today for your free marketing consultation.


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