Home  › Media › Media Planning

Ad Technology vs. Agency: Who Has the Advertiser's Ear?

  |  June 15, 2010   |  Comments

Educate your client on how to handle other companies' pitches and encourage them to involve you in the process.

If you work agency side, this kind of situation might sound all too familiar to you: you have a relationship with a client to provide online media planning services. A Web publisher or technology company comes out with some newfangled online advertising solution they want to pitch to your advertising client. They've identified your client, may or may not know that your agency is in the picture, but regardless they make the pitch to the client without your knowledge. Now they have your client's attention. This new technology may not jibe with your strategy for this client, let alone other issues like integration, budget, timetables, etc. What do you do? Can you avoid this kind of situation in the future?

The reality is this: outside companies will always be pitching your advertiser. Sales people wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't. You must educate your client on how to handle these kinds of pitches and why it's important for them to involve you in the process. Here are some points to keep in mind:

Save Your Client Valuable Time

Though some ad technology pitches can be a total waste of everyone's time, you don't know until you listen (or at least get some preliminary information so you can make a judgment call). Encourage your client to use you as a filter. They hired your agency for its expertise in this field, so why not let you run interference for them. Tell your client that they should respond to pitches by telling the publisher or technology company to contact you first.

You Want to Hear About These New Pitches

If your client gets the pitch rather than you, that doesn't mean you should be disinterested. I've preached many times that our industry evolves so quickly, we all have to be open-minded, steady students of our craft. New pitches for ad technologies help us learn and promote new opportunities for all clients, not just the select few who may have received that pitch.

Great New Technology, Wrong Time to Be Testing It

Advertisers (God bless them) have a tendency to be wowed by bells and whistles. Problems occur when even the latest and greatest whiz-bang solution has no place in the advertiser's current strategy...the strategy they already signed off on. If adopting this new technology takes the strategy off course, then what? Does the strategy need to be modified going forward? What if implementing this new technology takes all kinds of integration that no one planned or has budgeted for? How does that affect timelines that may already be in motion? And who bears responsibility for this new course if it fails to produce results?

Bad or Unproven Technology Can Degrade a Brand

Worse than getting excited over a great new technology is having your advertiser get excited over a bad one. Not all new technologies are proven or trouble-free. Some technologies infringe upon privacy, a big hot button these days. When problems go awry in a public arena, it can be bad for a brand's image. Aim to protect your client's brand by encouraging them to involve you in their technology evaluation process.

Be Proactive

I'm a big proponent of fostering positive mutually beneficial relationships with publishers and technology providers. I encourage ours to let us know about their developments and participate in beta testing if possible. To that end, there's no harm in reaching out to them from time to time and asking them what they've got going on. It also makes you more educated in advance of the client asking.

The Publisher's and Technology Provider's Perspective

In advance of writing this piece, I reached out to a dozen or more publishers and ad technology providers to see how they handle the "agency monkey-in-the-middle." The responses I got back fall in line with the kind of publisher or tech provider an agency would like to see, e.g.:

1. How do you manage advertiser pitches, particularly for new ad opportunities or technologies you might have, when the advertiser already has an agency?

  • Most respondents said, "We approach both." Several expressed a desire to first work with the agency because the combined force can be more persuasive to the advertiser and better programs can be built by working directly with the agency. Words like trust and respecting the relationship came up often.

2. If you're unaware of an advertiser-agency relationship to begin with - do you ask the advertiser about this or just present the opportunity to the advertiser regardless?

  • Some will make a point of asking the advertiser or try to do their due diligence ahead of time, though some default and wait for the advertiser to bring up the fact they have an agency.

I'm sure a few readers from all sides of this topic can come up with some other helpful points. Please add yours by commenting below.

Thanks to Comcast, Kontera, iExplore, and AdBrite for their responses, and special thanks to loyal ClickZ reader Ken Nicholas of MindOnMediaSales for the inspiration of this column idea.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hollis Thomases

A highly driven subject matter expert with a thirst for knowledge, an unbridled sense of curiosity, and a passion to deliver unbiased, simplified information and advice so businesses can make better decisions about how to spend their dollars and resources, multiple award-winning entrepreneur Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is a sole practitioner and digital ad/marketing "gatekeeper." Her 16 years working in, analyzing, and writing about the digital industry make Hollis uniquely qualified to navigate the fast-changing digital landscape. Her client experience includes such verticals as Travel/Tourism/Destination Marketing, Retail & Consumer Brands, Health & Wellness, Hi-Tech, and Higher Education. In 1998, Hollis Thomases founded her first company, Web Ad.vantage, a provider of strategic digital marketing and advertising service solutions for such companies as Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, and Visit Baltimore. Hollis has been an regular expert columnist with Inc.com, and ClickZ and authored the book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, published by John Wiley & Sons. Hollis also frequently speaks at industry conferences and association events.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...
    • Online Marketing Coordinator
      Online Marketing Coordinator (NewMarket Health) - BaltimoreWant to learn marketing from the best minds in the business? NewMarket Health, a subsidiary...
    • Call Center Manager
      Call Center Manager (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachWanted: Dynamic Call Center Manager with a Proven Track Record of Improving Response...