Partnering with one or more marketing agencies is a common choice for businesses. If you’re reading this, you likely have at least one agency supporting your brand. An external agency can augment your team with specialized skills or simply extra people power.
There is one downside of marketing agencies: they almost always have higher than average employee turnover. As of 2022, multiple sources report the average marketing agency turnover rate is right around 30% annually. You read that correctly. Out of the 6 person team your agency has working on your account – 2 will be replaced within 12 months. This rate is derived from small to large agencies alike – and it incorporates data from both digital marketing shops as well as traditional advertising firms. If you contract an agency, you will very likely experience turnover on your company’s account. Your external partner losing their employees can create serious hurdles and headaches for your business. That’s why we recommend implementing a solution to reduce that impact – and the potential of spending time on the wrong things.
We’re digging into the specifics of how traditional or digital marketing agency turnover affects you (the agency client). Then, we’re highlighting a solution to circumvent this – while equipping your teams with greater efficiency and the ability to focus on impactful work.
How Advertising Agency Turnover Affects You
With a 30% turnover rate, agencies essentially have a new workforce every 3 years. That means if you’ve been partnering with your agency for 6 years, you’ve educated and re-educated 2 teams so far.
Expect that you’ll need to get used to a new cast of characters somewhat often. If you’ve never stopped to analyze it, you probably know you don’t like when your external team churns, but putting your finger on why can be a challenge. Here’s how the higher-than-average marketing and advertising agency turnover rate affects you, the client:
New Employees Have Less Domain Knowledge – Your brand is complex. The offerings you bring to different customer segments are varied – each with their own set of strengths, weaknesses, and nuances. Your new agency partner often has, at best, a passing knowledge of your business. This is a primary way that marketing agency turnover directly impacts your marketing. In particular, this knowledge gap is something that clients often see when they lean on their agency for content production. Creating expert content requires a serious degree of familiarity with your brand and your product lines – something brand-new employees don’t have right off the bat and won’t have for a long time.
Less Context on Strategy – Let’s imagine the best case scenario: this new agency employee has been given exhaustive client materials that detail all the minutiae of your business. Even then, they wouldn’t have context on the marketing you’ve done prior. In a worst case scenario, your brand marketing or performance marketing takes a step back. Your new account manager or strategist genuinely may not know what campaigns you’ve run recently – let alone their outcomes. Depending on how you and your agency retain records, this context is lost as the experienced agency employee departs. This often looks like knowledge gaps on what type of content, offers, ad types, and channels you’ve tried. Not only will these new strategists not understand your playbook of what earned success in the past – but they also won’t know what efforts fell flat.
Ramping Difficulty – During a period of ramping you can expect tasks to take longer, require more input from you, and be less accurate all around. That comes with the territory. Ramping a new employee at your own company takes months – and that’s with you controlling everything. You get to invite your new hire to meetings and brainstorming sessions as well as equip them with internal training materials. This is (obviously) not the case with your agency partner’s new employees. It’s not uncommon to have at least one marketer ramping on your account at any given time. What makes it worse is that you don’t have their full attention – your account isn’t the only one they’re learning. Even with an experienced team around them, you very likely will feel the effects of the employee churn on your regular marketing efforts.
All of this being said, agencies have a lot to offer. They can be an extension of your team and help you reach the next level. In fact, we use agencies here at Opal, as do many of our customers! The trick is to mitigate the issues we’ve outlined by leveraging robust processes and technology. Let’s dig into what that looks like.
Solution: The RIGHT Marketing Platform
One of the reasons that we chose to write a blog about dealing with marketing agency turnover is that Opal proves effective in dealing with it. Opal is the content operations platform that redefines how you plan, create, and calendar your marketing. Many of the world’s top brands (Target, Microsoft, Starbucks, and more) trust our platform to plan their marketing and to serve as their single source of truth!
While Opal wasn’t specifically built to minimize disruption from advertising agency turnover, many of our clients discovered our platform proved very effective at it. Here’s specifically how Opal can address the issues of advertising agency turnover:
Provide a Source of Truth for All Past Work – Maintaining a record of all marketing work keeps your agency locked in and can dramatically expedite ramp. Opal’s shared visual calendar is a space where anyone (internal or at the agency) can see your past marketing efforts. This makes gaining historical context on your brand easy. Without a central source of truth, the primary way to understand historical information is a time-consuming slog of digging through email threads, PDFs, and social media accounts. In addition, this independent source of truth means you have a permanent record of successful campaigns – and potent strategies live on regardless of your agency partner.
Enforce Effective Campaign Parameters – Brand new strategists and specialists may be talented, but they can still struggle to do things your way. The right software can circumvent this by giving your agency partners the correct framework. To give you an idea of how this looks in practice, Opal lets you set iron-clad parameters that must be followed for a specific type of content or campaign. In addition, Opal enables you to pre-load briefs and instructions to give new agency employees a step-by-step path to follow. Both of these solutions can go a long way toward eliminating errors from inexperience. In addition, you can clone highly-effective campaigns, so that all of the proven strategy is in place and only the specifics need to be updated. In fact, this can be a serious time-saver, whether you’re working against agency turnover or not!
Store Essential Ramp Documents – Another way to lessen the learning curve for new agency employees is to equip them with your key documents. Opal provides a dedicated and secure space where any new team members can learn from your standard operating procedures, brand guidelines, templates, playbooks, and more.
Streamline Approval and Communication – One of the challenges of ramping employees (especially those outside your organization) is that more guidance will be needed. This especially holds true when providing instructions on tasks and giving feedback on work. Opal streamlines workflows and approvals, often cutting content creation time in half! The added efficiency means you don’t lose time – even if the agency specialists require more back and forth communication.
Bottom line: by having a central source of truth, you guarantee alignment of all your marketing efforts. In addition, when guided by powerful workflows, you get valuable time back. These benefits are crucial when overcoming famously high marketing agency turnover rates – and during business as usual, too.
Explore the Opal Platform
The Opal planning platform is purpose-built for marketers. Compared to more generalized work management software, Opal has specific features and modules built for the challenges that marketers and communications professionals face.
In addition to a visual record of all past campaigns and marketing-specific workflows, Opal offers one-of-a-kind content previews. These true-to-life previews enable you to see how your marketing campaigns and content will look through the eyes of your customer.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Opal is utilized by hundreds of beloved international brands such as Pepsi, Activision, GM, Lego, Pokemon, Whole Foods, and so many others. See more of our incredible customers right here!
If you’re interested to learn how Opal can redefine your marketing process, we’d love to have a conversation. Contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo with one of our experts!