Some Agencies Just DON’T Get It!

Laura and Natasha Dumb Sign!
Originally uploaded by Laurydia.

So you have all been spared a rant for a while … but this has been bubbling away for some time. It was fuelled by this great post by Ann Handley and the comments from CK.

Some time ago I am sitting in a meeting room. I am there as a guest of my client, along with a number of other people representing various agencies … and the conversation swings around to the online world … to the web, the value of sites, blogs, portals and online ad spending. The discussion was being led by the head of one of the big media agencies and all in the room were nodding in agreement with the general flow of conversation/presentation. And then came the bombshell … "ah yes, but you can’t measure the web".

Beg your pardon?

I thought I must have misheard. I looked around the room and the nodding continued. Then I realised that I was just living in a parallel universe … the one where SOME people get the Net and others don’t. Unfortunately, my world was the lesser populated.

Now I could have jumped in and launched a tirade … but I paused. I wanted to understand why this perspective was held. I am quite immersed in the world of the web and interactive media, so I wanted to hear what was going on in this strange other world. So I sat on my indignation and listened … I expected to find out that the focus of the measurement argument was around protecting the lucrative media placement business. But it was worse …

The "lack of measurement" claim was actually about owning "strategy". By pushing forward with a measurement system built around mass media — TV and radio — and using the sampling provided by rating agencies around the world, this agency was claiming the strategic highground — based on their research and demographic analysis. I shook my head and wondered if I was hearing right!

Finally it clicked.

The reason that no one in the room thought that the web was measurable was because they were trying to use the WRONG system of measurement. They were viewing the web as just another channel … like TV and radio. They were talking about (can you believe it) banner ads and interstitials. They were wanting one-to-many broadcasts (and associated metrics) without understanding that you CAN have one-to-one narrowcasts (and better, targeted metrics). Not only did this agency (and the others), not understand the web and its potential, but they were actively discouraging their client from experimenting and innovating. And they were trying to AVOID helping our client build real, interactive relationships with customers.

Interestingly, I noticed through my web analytics, that certain agencies were checking our names and histories … and ended up here. How do I know it was them? Google Analytics lets you cross-analyse data in all sorts of fun ways … I even know what kind of computer they use and the screen size of their monitor. No measurement? Ha! Sounds like a job for this chap below (thanks to CK for the reference).


5 thoughts on “Some Agencies Just DON’T Get It!

  1. Ah, my ninja. I hope he doesn’t sell out with how popular he’s become.
    As for measuring when clients need it, I net it out into:
    a. sales increase
    b. exposure (publicity/awareness)
    c. new opps identified
    d. new comptencies acquired
    But all is based on real, genuine relationships. Far superior to clinical clicks and views, this gets them away from the “old talk” and builds the business model simultaneously. That has been my way to handle the discussion–cuz I’m having it with clients a lot.
    Thanks for the mention, you’ve been great to me and my little blog.

  2. Love the Ninja!(love the campaign too
    I think it’s timely to get past clicks and views as a measurement of the value of online interaction. We all talk about our online marketing tactics as stepping stones to create stronger relationships between brands and their audience.
    One of the problems of measurement is that it can often come after the fact- after the interaction with the brand. Then we as internet agency types try to analyse and create a story to tell our clients about their customers interaction.
    I think it comes from having a brand centric point of view (measuring the interactions with the brand’s assetts) instead of a consumer centric point of view (how did we as a brand add value to you today?).
    You would never gauge the strenght of a ‘real’ friendship on how much they buy from you. Instead it’s the amount of time they spend with you, how much they value you, how much you understand each other, how well they will speak of you outside of your hearing and what kind of stories they have to tell about you.

  3. Katie, this was very astute: “You would never gauge the strenght of a ‘real’ friendship on how much they buy from you. Instead it’s the amount of time they spend with you, how much they value you, how much you understand each other, how well they will speak of you outside of your hearing and what kind of stories they have to tell about you.”
    Very well said. I keep hammering “relationships” home, but to map it to “friendship” is very helpful and spot-on. That’s a great premise/idea for a post – let me know if you post on it :-).

  4. Nice post. I’ve sat in many a meeting like that.
    This boils down to the ongoing debate about what it is we’re meant to be measuring: efficiency or effectiveness.
    Measuring efficiency requires that every communication is reduced to the lowest common denominators: how many people, how many times. Then it’s just a case of delivering this cheaply – how many a media agency earns its bonus. This has a place in the world of trading but it shouldn’t drive decisions around communication choice.
    Measuring effectiveness requires a more bespoke approach. The question needs to be asked, what is communication trying to achieve? This will impact on communication channel choice and ultimately define how communication will be measured.

  5. Is there still a debate?!

    Servant of Chaos gives what I consider to be a stunning account of a meeting he attended as a guest of his client. When the topic turned to the Web, the speaker made an incredibly ignorant statement that, had he

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