agency employees

How to Make Metrics Relevant for Creative Teams

As a marketing executive, you understand that metrics matter. When your creative teams work together on metric-oriented goals, you can serve your clients better, reduce mistakes and miscues, and maximize every dollar spent. Unfortunately, while you may love metrics, odds are your creative staff doesn't. At least, not yet. One reason creatives don't pay attention to company metrics is because they don't understand how they directly influence those results. Inherently, people want their work to carry significance, and they can become disheartened when a company's most important goals don't seem to correlate with the work they do each day. In the end, no one wants to feel like a member of the "B team." This is especially true for creatives, whose work is often forward-facing and publicly representative of a brand or company but disconnected from the bottom line. Part of making creative team members understand why metrics matter is helping them understand their role in achieving metrics-based goals. Follow these three tips to demonstrate how metrics are relevant to everyone in the company: Only focus on metrics that actually matter Whatever you do, do not make metrics the flavor of the month. Asking people to focus on a different metric each month is extremely demotivating. It teaches people to disregard current metrics because they're only 29 days away from a different one. Instead, identify two to four key metrics to regularly track as a core part of operational assessment. Don't bog anyone down with an overload of data that isn't important; just focus team efforts on metrics that matter and demonstrate their importance by offering incentives for achieving or exceeding these goals. Make it relevant If you want metrics to be a focus for [...]

Don’t Be Held Hostage by Your Rogue Tech Team

Some things creep up slowly in life, like global warming and receding hairlines. Now you can add to that list: The reign of a digital team in agencies. As digital advertising continues its double-digit growth, more and more agencies routinely rely on tech-driven campaigns to keep the lights on. And as web, mobile, and social command larger and larger chunks of clients’ budgets, the teams tasked with executing these campaigns often start calling the shots. In a well-run agency in which all departments communicate effectively and honor agency protocol, a powerful digital team can retain its autonomy without much trouble. Unfortunately, when team members stop respecting agency leadership and begin doing their own thing, they can drive projects over budget and behind schedule. I’ve seen strapped teams give preferential treatment to favorite account executives and even stonewall projects by refusing to answer technical questions. When digital teams go rogue, agency owners can find themselves held hostage by their tech-savvy employees. The advertising world is plagued by a digital talent shortage, so for many agency owners, keeping their digital divas happy seems like a safer option than letting them go. When agency owners feel beholden to their digital teams, these employees can cut leadership out of the decision-making process and severely damage the agency’s ability to function. One agency I know sold a large digital project to a new client that included a website redesign. The team put together a timeline and budget for completion, and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Weeks later, the account executive discovered that the programmers had invested 40 unauthorized hours on “improving” the site. The project was running behind and over budget, and the agency had to eat the overage. [...]

Hey Agency Owner — Give your employees context and connect the dots

Sometimes I think as agency owners we forget to connect the dots for our team in an agency management system. Remember when you were a kid and your parents started to talk about something and then in the middle of the conversation, one of them gave the other "the look" and they either stopped their conversation, lowered their voices so you couldn't hear, or left the room to finish the conversation? What did you immediately do?  You tried even harder to listen. If you couldn't hear, your imagination started filling in the blanks. Suddenly the story includes espionage or murder or at the very least your favorite neighbor moving away. In the absence of facts, our brains create a story that is usually wrong and usually way out of proportion from reality. When we were left on our own to connect the dots, the picture got a little crazy. That is happening today in your agency management system, especially as it pertains to money, billings and profitability. How many times have you uttered a sentence like this without any context: Our billings are down again this month.  We've got to reverse this trend or we're in some serious trouble. I don't think that client XYZ won't be around much longer. It doesn't look like we're going to pay out a bonus this year. I get so sick and tired of writing time off. Each of those sentences may be true.  But if you don't connect the dots and give your employees the context to gauge just how serious the situation is, they go into imagination mode.  Suddenly, in their heads, they are all out on the street, looking for work, and begging for change so they can bring [...]