Take a good look at your agency

Is your agency recommending direct mail? If they aren’t, could they be considering commissions that add to their bottom line rather than DM where the revenue isn’t as tasty anymore.

There’s a hair-raising article by Mark Ritson in the May edition of Marketing Week entitled “The Culture of Agency Kickbacks is Turning Media into a Shadowy Black Box”. Here, Mark Ritson talks about how Jon Mandel, the ex-CEO of MediaCom, one of the biggest media agencies, exposed the extensive kickbacks agencies receive. At a media conference in Miami, Mandel revealed that “industry recommends media that is off-strategy because they make more money that way.”

Even the UK advertising body doesn’t believe media agencies operate in the best interest of their clients. Tackling this issue head-on, the ANA issued guidelines this week for marketers to improve media transparency and take back control of media agency relationships - reported in both the July edition of Marketing Week and Campaign.

Take a good look at your agency.

What media are they recommending? Do they have people with in-depth print knowledge? Do they have the expertise to put exciting creative through the door that gets consumers calling, clicking and engaging with your business? Can they pull together campaigns that deliver results across all media?

They’re a keeper if they genuinely have your best business interests (and not their bottom line) at heart.