Welcome to Simantel’s Mailbag, where agency owner and Director of Client Services, Tim Leesman, addresses the top questions we hear from our clients. Have a question you’d like covered? Tweet it to us at @simantel and use #mailbag.

A key to strong business partnerships is communication and asking questions – a lot of questions. We love clients who dig in and truly work to understand our business. Here are some of the recent questions we’ve heard from our clients, including discussing budgets, reviewing banner ads and when to expect campaign results.

Client: My agency partner is constantly pushing to understand my budget. I don’t want to get taken advantage of, so I generally ask for their proposed costs first. Am I being smart or is this counter-productive?

TL: I totally understand the concern around sharing your budget. The most important factor to consider is trust. Ask yourself, do I view my agency as a partner who will act in my best interest at all times and be a good steward of my budget? If the answer is yes, then being transparent with your budget has numerous benefits, for example:

  • Efficiency: Allowing your agency to immediately focus their ideas (and billable time) in areas that align with your available funds, resulting in better outcomes with a quicker turnaround.
  • Strategic Approach: Budget allocation can be done at a strategic, holistic level. If we know your project goals and that your total budget to achieve those goals is $100k, we can help you allocate your budget appropriately to get the best return on your investment (i.e., $15k for strategy, $30k for content, $40k for promotion and $15k for measurement and optimization).

Lastly, in a marketing world where agencies (and our clients) are measured on ROI, it’s 100 percent in our best interest to help you maximize every dollar you have available. Any agency looking to inflate their margins or overcharge because you shared your budget with them won’t be around much longer.

Client: I keep looking online and not seeing my company’s banner ads. Why can’t I find them and how can I be sure they are running properly?

TL: The funny thing is, if your agency understands proper online targeting strategies, you shouldn’t be seeing your own ads. Unless you are part of your campaign’s target audience, you would be considered a wasted impression – which is exactly what you are paying your agency to filter out of your campaigns.

If you’re concerned that your ad units aren’t running properly, you can always request a report from your media partner that shows when, where, to whom and in what quantity your banners are being served.

Client: How quickly after a campaign should I expect to see results?

TL: Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. We always start with developing a measurement strategy, which will define first and foremost what “results” we are looking for. This could range from website visits to form completions to sales transactions. Once we know what “results” we’re looking for, then we need to define:

  • What are the specific things we’re measuring?
  • What data sources do I have access to?
  • What do our dashboards need to tell us? (And who needs to see them?)
  • What reporting frequency am I interested in? Daily, monthly, quarterly or year-over-year?

From here, we can help set your key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure against. Each medium will have a different outcome, meaning each will require different benchmarks. Some campaigns might provide sales leads the next day and some require ramp up time (think form submission vs. website SEO). Just remember, if you’re piloting a program, patience is a virtue. Be sure to give it enough time to truly test performance and give it an honest look before cutting or reallocating budget.

Without a measurement strategy in place, it’s likely everyone involved from your boss to your agency will experience misaligned expectations – and a great deal of unnecessary frustration and inefficiency. And remember, it is just as important to allocate money in the beginning for optimizations. Marketers that can turn data into insights and actually spend the time and money to make improvements will outpace competitors.


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Stayed tuned for future editions of The Mailbag where we will explore more common questions we hear from clients. But in the meantime, if you have a question we haven’t addressed, tweet us @simantel or contact us.