Feature | Evaluation time! Equivalent this time!

When a successful campaign makes its way into various kinds of media, it is usually followed by a good response in terms of sales and brand recall. But as dusky twists and turns of agency performance measurability comes up, many a times agencies cringe at the thought of it and express that the tools used are more or less traditional ways of assessing. However, there have also been some solid client-agency relationships which have been nurtured over the years based on the transparency practised while measuring the agency's performance.

Adgully asked industry leaders about some of the pitfalls of one-sided performance assessment processes and some of the key changes that can be introduced to the process.

Talking about the importance of assessing agency performance, Amin Lakhani, Head- Exchange, Mindshare, says, "One cannot generalise the fallacies of client-agency relationship to every client. A client's way of assessing an agency's performance also depends on how evolved both the agency and the client are. There have been instances when client-agency relationships have broken all barriers and where they have worked together as equivalent partners bringing in business."

On similar lines Jaideep Gandhi, Managing Director, Jaya Advertising, adds, "There is only one tool which I would say the client assesses an agency on and that is on the basis of how much an agency has been involved. There are very few agencies that do a lot of proactive work hence I think clients are increasingly looking and measuring an agency's performance in terms of involvement."

So while involvement and partnering with the client to solve their marketing problem seems to be the key, is it also necessary to assess the client's performance?

As clients increasingly look at involving external auditors to measure an agency's performance, it is very important to also see if there has to be a two way assessment by auditors. A two way evaluation will help an auditor to understand where the agency fell short and where did the client's marketing team fell short of understanding their communication partner's solution.

Gandhi points out that, clients are result-oriented and there are no two ways to this fact. "But it is also very necessary for the client to assess its marketing team's performance, because they are equally involved in whatever we do," he adds.

Agreeing with Gandhi, Lakhani says, "There are a lot of things that go on in the client's side too; hence it is usually a good thing to get a third party to assess their team's performance too. However even the auditors have to provide more constructive and more innovative assessment and a robust data insight."

Adding a client perspective to this discussion, Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland India, says, "I think it is very important because a third party can give you a better perspective on your activities. But most of the times client and agency work in unison and in sync with each other like they are one company. And the same goes with us and our communication partners. Hence we usually do not feel hesitant about involving a third party to assess either us or our communication partner's performance."

While both the parties are really willing to have a transparent procedure for evaluation, the important bit is to keep the parameters of assessment equivalent and of similar standards for both the client and the agency. | By Prabha Hegde [prabha(at)adgully.com]

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