How to find a ripe avocado? 

With all the media hype surrounding avocados and how the consumption of smashed avocados on toast is stopping millennials from buying their first home, we thought it would be fitting to use the term “Avocados”.

However the context in this instance, is very different - How do we separate the good avocados (digital advertising agencies that provide you with true value and really do care about your business and are fully transparent in their affairs) from those rotten avocados (those who you hear from once in a blue moon, and are always finding ways to cheapen the customer proposition).

Having worked in this industry around 4 Years, and having spoken to hundreds of businesses, both big and small, the number one issue that most businesses face is the lack of transparency from their digital advertising agency.

By transparency, I am referring to the unveiling of what is going on behind the scenes. The word transparency comes from the Latin word “Transparentia” which means “shining through”. What you really need to ask yourself is this.... do you have a true understanding of what your agency is doing for you?  How exactly are they doing this for you? As a customer, you are fully within your rights to ask this simple question.

I remember once being in a meeting with a prospective client, who was spending close to $15,000 per month on online advertising. I asked him one simple question, what services are you currently receiving? He looked at me with a blank response. I then asked him when was the last time he spoke to or met with his digital partner? His response was “They sent a report about 3-4 months back, but I haven’t heard from them since”.

Being the curious person I am, I asked whether he would be comfortable showing the reports to me. He had no issue and printed it off. It was a 10-page excel spreadsheet with a bunch of numbers. Numbers that make sense to me, but to most clients means very little without explanation or proper education.

I asked him, whether he understood all of this. He had absolutely no clue. An educated client or a client that understands what you are doing for them is the most powerful client. After all, they understand the value you are providing to their business.

The greatest outcomes are achieved when there is a true collaboration between client and agency. When your clients have a true understanding of what exactly it is you are doing for them, and how you are taking them closer to realising their end goals. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it is your agency’s responsibility to very clearly tell you what’s going on and what results you are seeing.

If they refuse to provide this information or seem very hesitant, there’s a good chance they are engaging in deceptive behaviour. So be careful, and don’t be scared to call them out.

There are a few things at Glasshouse Digital that we do and is part of the DNA of our company that ensures we uphold the values of transparency. Does it take a little bit more time? Absolutely, but is it worth it? Without a doubt.

Onboarding Checklist: 

  1. A copy of your signed contract - You would be surprised how many clients, I have spoken too have not received a copy of their signed contract from their digital advertising agency.

  2. A Statement of Work - This is a document that outlines the campaign strategy, timelines, KPI’s, what assets need to be provided by you (client), and also sets out the responsibilities of client and agency.

  3. Request your Google Campaign Structure (Provided this is something you are engaging/ receiving)- It is very simple to provide and can be exported as an excel spreadsheet or PDF through the Ads Manager. So there is absolutely no reason why your agency should withhold such information.

  4. Sign off on all creatives that are put out in the marketplace - After all, it’s your brand!

  5. Weekly Reporting - With tools like Raven Tools, Report Garden, and a number of other third-party reporting platforms out there, there is really no reason why you shouldn’t be receiving simple and effective reporting on a weekly basis. But make sure that your agency takes the time to walk you through the reports and what each metric means for you.

  6. After you successfully launch your campaigns, there should be a one month review of all campaigns, after all, it’s the most important time, and there will be enough data collected to be in a position to make proper adjustment and optimisations to the campaign.

  7. Master Marketing budget - This basically is an excel spreadsheet that is shared with the client, that outlines monthly spends and month to month reconciliations. At the start of every month, the client knows what has been spent the previous month.

So there you go, there are a few simple things that we do at Glasshouse Digital to make sure that we deliver the best possible customer experience and outcomes. 

At Glasshouse Digital, our vision is to become New Zealand's most trusted and respected digital marketing agency. Delivering digital marketing services with honesty, creativity and ROI. 

Contributor: Shehan Wijetillake (Head of Customer Experience)