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Learn how to analyze your agency’s performance and plan for the next year in our latest blog post.
‘Performance Review’, ‘KPI Analysis’, ‘Audit’ - whatever you might call it, it’s a good practice to end the year with a thorough analysis of your performance, brand, team, and core metrics. You’ll figure out what you did right, and what you can improve upon the next year.
In 2021, this audit is perhaps even more important. Your agency likely dealt with lockdowns, volatile demand, staff attrition, and uncertain future prospects. How you managed to deal with these problems will give you remarkable insight into your plans for 2022.
What should this year-end review cover? What are some of the core metrics you should consider? How can you benchmark your success against your peers?
I’ll help you find answers to these questions below. You’ll learn:
The pandemic hasn’t been kind to agency brands. The entire sector changed so much and so fast that the brand never had time to catch up to an entirely new reality. You might have gone remote-only, but your brand might still scream “local agency”.
The end of the year is the time to review your brand and make sure that it actually tells your story.
A few key questions to consider:
Branding is a difficult exercise in itself, particularly since there are so few hard metrics to benchmark against. Yet, as an agency, it's also the one thing that can help you stand out from tens of thousands of competitors.
If you’re going to run a brand audit, consider starting with our detailed guide on auditing your agency brand.
Creative agencies live and die by their creative teams. Analyzing their performance, obviously, should be high-up on your year-end review list.
What performance metrics should you cover?
Here are a few must-haves to start with:
Stellar creative teams will still underdeliver if they’re helmed by sub-par project leaders. While you’re doing a deep dive into your creative team, don’t forget to look under the hood of your project numbers as well.
Some metrics that can help you analyze your overall performance include:
You can learn more about agency project metrics in this guide.
The larger your agency becomes, the tougher it is to figure out how you’re truly doing.
Sure, your accountant has a handle on how much money you’re making. And sure, you usually know if something is profitable or not. But for most agencies, more granular financial data remains a mystery.
Do you know precisely what your current deal pipeline looks like? Or how long it takes you to close a deal on average? What about your most profitable clients and projects?
These metrics are usually siloed away in different departments and teams. While that might work for the team itself, it leaves upper management in the dark.
Before the end of this year, make sure that you gather core financial data, including:
Perhaps most importantly, be wary of the culture within the agency world that prioritizes the Work and ignores financials. While the quality of your creative output is crucial, you still have a business to run.
Knowing how the financials stack up and what kind of sales operation you currently have is crucial for running a healthy agency.
You probably know this already: it’s brutal for businesses (including agencies) trying to retain talent. It’s been called the Great Resignation and the numbers back up the moniker. Since April 2021, 19M Americans quit their jobs and nearly 40% are thinking of following suit.
As an agency, your biggest challenge in 2022 is likely not getting new clients, but retaining your existing employees.
Before you step into the new year, it’s a good idea to take a long and hard look at your employee policies. Whatever might have worked for you in the past is unlikely to help you much in an increasingly competitive talent market.
Specifically, consider the following:
At this point in the talent cycle, you can’t afford to ignore any aspect of the employee experience. Something as seemingly small as the tools you use can affect employee morale (and get them to switch).
If you haven’t done so already, 2022 is the year to roll out the red carpet and build a truly employee-first agency.
Our guide to hiring the best talent for your agency is a good place to start.
Agencies might be in the business of technology but far too many of them operate on outdated technology themselves. Spreadsheets seem to be the norm and I’ve even seen paper timesheets in an agency or two.
As we step into a new year, it’s time to take stock of your agency’s operations.
Ask yourself: are you truly using technology to streamline your work? Do you have clear insight into your operations across all departments? Is your data free from silos? Do your employees spend half their time digging through email threads?
If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, perhaps a change is in order.
To be specific, evaluate the following in your agency operations audit:
These are the nuts and bolts of your agency. Ignore them long enough and they can catch rust. New technology can also catch you off guard. What you think is the cutting edge might actually be outdated.
An annual operations audit can help you spot these tech gaps. It can also help you catch any inefficiencies that might have crept into your systems over time.
A year-end performance audit isn’t just about finding problems.
It’s also about celebrating all the good that you did.
Your biggest deal. Your happiest clients. Your best workers - these are all things worth remembering as you step into a new year.
Before you close out the year, take some time to identify all your achievements in 2021 - the objective and the subjective. Highlight your best memories throughout the year and all the challenges your teams battled through. If you ended the year with record profits or happier clients/employees, make sure that your teams know about it.
2022 promises to be an exciting, lucrative, and challenging year. There’s more demand than ever for digital transformation. There’s also an increasingly tougher battle for quality talent. To win in this market, you’ll want to be at your best. And that process starts with understanding where you currently stand.
One way to make the most of 2022 is to upgrade your agency’s operating system. By switching to a creative project management tool like Workamajig, you can get deep insight into your agency’s operations across departments.
Don’t take our word for it - see it for yourself with a free demo.
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