As we dive headfirst into a new year and we think about our own personal goals, it is also important to discuss goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) with your marketing agency.
You likely already have some goals and corresponding KPIs, but you can also look to your marketing agency for guidance heading into a new fiscal year. As the client, you know your budget and the scope of the project. This is a great place to start. At Gravitate, we build and execute goals in lockstep with all members of the marketing team. This is an essential step in fortifying the client/agency relationship, is a great exercise for you and your team to review alignment, and provides benchmarks to monitor the health of your efforts throughout the year. Let’s break down the benefits of this planning in more detail:
Establishing goals with your marketing agency helps fortify the relationship by showing you’re thinking ahead.
- If goals haven’t been discussed in a long time, use the beginning of a quarter or the turn of a new year as a natural kickstart to the conversation. I began having conversations about client goals for 2023 at the beginning of October 2022. Addressing this early plants the seed in everyone’s mind and provides ample time for thoughtful thinking about the future. The agency should also treat your goals and budget like it’s their own.
- Initiating this conversation also helps remind you of why you hired the agency in the first place. The goals take time to develop, organize, and circulate amongst your teams, so it’s important to leave room for this. Both sides require strategic thinking and can remind you of their expertise.
- Your agency will likely ask you to provide some goals & specific KPIs if you have any that you specifically want to target – and within what timelines. Partners can point you to the tools/platforms you have access to (like Looker Studio, formerly Google Data Studio). Ask for a walk-through of that information too. Quick tip: an analysis of YoY metrics is always a good place to start to kickstart the conversion.
- Lastly, conversations about goals & KPIs can help you with budget planning going into the new year. Most teams have several arms within their business to circulate approvals (controllers, accounting, executive leadership), and marketing is no exception, particularly given the impact new business has on the overall bottom line. You as the client will likely put more trust into your agency partnership if they practice proactive behaviors .
Conversations around Goals & KPIs invite insightful conversation and can spotlight hidden opportunities within the client relationship.
- A helpful exercise to begin brainstorming this topic is to use “SMART” goals. Our agency has used this before, but this article written by an Adroll Lifestyle Associate to learn more about the below says it perfectly:
- SPECIFIC: The goal should clearly address why it exists, when it needs to be accomplished, what you’re trying to accomplish, and who is responsible.
- MEASURABLE: The goal should be quantifiable and linked to concrete metrics, and ideally supported by one or more KPIs.
- ACHIEVABLE: The goal should push you to do better while still being realistically doable. Goals that aren’t achievable will only serve to demotivate.
- RELEVANT: The goal should be tied to a larger objective, and readers should be able to clearly see how it supports the company as a whole.
- TIME-BOUND: The goal should have a clear and well-defined time frame, including when the goal takes effect and when it needs to be completed
- Think about HOW you want to brainstorm with your team – are you all working remotely? Does your team use Google Docs? Excel spreadsheets? Want to discuss over coffee or at a physical whiteboard? Think about how to get the creative juices of your team flowing while being mindful of the SMART parameters.
- Once the goals are built internally, the goals & KPIs will dictate guideposts and benchmarks to work towards each month, quarter, year, etc. In the words of Amy Kan who wrote this Fast Company article on how to develop goals, “Alignment is Key. It’s important for you and your team to be on the same page prior to presenting your ideas to the client. “For teams to be high performing, not only do they need to align on what they are there to do and how they will do it, but also on what it will take to achieve it. This is where the team answers, “How do we need to work together?’
Getting on the same page with your agency about your Goals for the upcoming year sets you and your agency up for success.
- It shows that everyone is now monitoring the “health” of the relationship while looking toward growth.
- Once their internal team agrees on the goals, they’ve presented them to you via a PowerPoint deck or rudimentary Google doc, you now have benchmark pillars to shape the year ahead. . You can revisit this document each day, each quarter – whenever you’d like, to help keep you on track and remind yourself and your team of the bigger picture. It is easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day tasks, but this exercise is a nice way to reset.
- Goals and KPIs are helpful tools in monitoring the “health” of the relationship. KPIs encourage everyone to focus on the most important metrics to keep your business healthy while focusing on growth.
- Remind yourself that while metrics were agreed upon at the beginning of the relationship or fiscal year, they can change based on many factors including (but not limited to) economic circumstances, new hires internally or externally, or shifting priorities.