Why are clients keeping their media agencies at arms length?

Why do clients keep media agencies at arm’s length from their existing customer strategies?

Our clients’ existing customers watch TV right? I’m sure they listen to the radio. And often check their letterboxes. Unfortunately we haven’t quite figured out a way to negatively target our existing customers using broadcast media, like our learned online friends. So we have to assume broadcast media is hitting everyone – customers and prospects. We’ve actually probably targeted our prospective customers based on what our existing customers look like! So why on earth don’t we consider this impact on existing customers when we plan our media?

More often than not we hear that our clients want to drive acquisition. When you break this down, often it isn’t acquisition of a brand new shiny, never before touched the brand, customer. It’s simply acquisition of a product – a new sale that helps achieve a business target. Our clients’ existing customers are effectively our lowest hanging fruit when we look at a bottoms up Comms plan. We should know more about our customers demographically, behaviourally and transactionally than we could ever hope to know about a prospect. Therefore if a Cross sell campaign was our starting point, using the analytical capability we have in media agencies, we’d already have the first layer of our efficiency funnel nailed. Now time to move on to paid media.

I look back to my client days and I couldn’t count the amount of times I told my poor old Head of Performance “….no you can’t have access to our customer data, another team looks after that”. Now the roles are reversed and I often get looked at a bit funny when I’m in a media briefing and ask what the comms plan is for their existing customer base. Probably thinking (as I did), you’re a media agency, you do media! But I know now, if we’re not looking holistically at the total universe, we are missing a trick. A very efficient trick.

We often judge an ongoing CRM cross sell programme (such as DM or eDM), by the immediate face value results. However what is the impact of those results when we also have a product or brand campaign in market, that of course our customers have seen? What is the value we can attribute to that ‘acquisition’ campaign when looking at the impact we’ve had on the base? If we are looking holistically at the total value of a campaign, not only the paid media component, but by monitoring the reaction, behaviour and uplift of our existing customers – it may help us to better target those brand new shiny customers in the future.

Now don’t even get me started on offering and advertising better deals to new customers, than we do to our existing loyal ones…….

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