Mindstream Media Group is Taking ACTION

It’s been several weeks since solid black images filled social media feeds around the world, signifying people coming together to quiet the usual trending topics in favor of amplifying the voices of the Black community, in a time where those voices are too often being underrepresented.

Shortly after that, the Mindstream Media Group ACTION committee first met to discuss the current state of social injustice we’re seeing play out in America, to have difficult discussions with our colleagues around race and race relations in our country and to formulate ways we can make an impact – both within our agency environment and beyond.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be expanding the conversation, via a phased approach, to include the rest of our agency in the initiatives outlined below. This is just a start; the conversation is truly never-ending. Our hope is that these next steps will pave the way for all of us at Mindstream Media Group to gain a better understanding of the injustice happening around us and prompt us to do our part to foster equal representation of all people.

  • Phase 1: Internal Reflection and Discussion
    • As one of our first initiatives, we will be forming small, internal groups to facilitate uncomfortable conversations within our work environment, focused on specific topics, tasks and outcomes.
    • We’ll then bring our findings back into a larger group discussion with a spokesperson from each small group.
  • Phase 2: Community Relations and Outreach
    • Begin a social media initiative supporting local minority-owned businesses via our agency’s social presence. Our first initiative will be focused on the Black community.
    • Build relationships with local high schools, colleges, and Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) – specifically looking into recruitment/internship opportunities, presenting about the advertising industry and possible career paths.
    • Look into participating in local high school career days and other opportunities to influence and mentor students, especially within the underrepresented Black community.
    • Support a local Black-owned business through strategic media planning.
  • Phase 3: Continuous Training and Education
    • Seek out guest speakers to present to the agency to improve our understanding of and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    • Gain an understanding of racial diversity within the media agencies we work with and best ways to put our clients in a position to make an informed decision on where they’re spending their media dollars.

As a final takeaway, we shared some tangible ways for our employees to begin having these conversations with themselves and those closest to them. We urge you to take a few minutes to explore the links below, as well:

The Mindstream Media Group ACTION committee looks forward to getting more of our employees involved in the conversation and sharing updates on the progress of our initiatives. Our goal is to develop a long-term plan which will become our enhanced, ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion going forward. We’re taking ACTION against the tremendous social injustices in our society and hope that our progress inspires you to do the same.

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Signs Your Agency is Slacking

Remember when you loved your media agency and just knew they loved you back? Maybe it started when they responded to your RFP or took you to lunch after a great pitch meeting. They told you that you were special. They had a million ideas to improve your performance and lower your investment, if you’d just sign here. And once you signed, it was still great…for a year. Maybe more.

But now you’re starting to wonder–or you flat-out know–your relationship changed, and you’re looking for signs your agency is slacking.

Five Ways to Tell Your Agency is Failing

  1. They’re complacent. It’s been said that complacency is the root of all RFPs. If your program seems to be stagnant and the recommendations to optimize based on performance, new advertising options or changes in your business have stopped, your account is probably on autopilot. “Set it and forget it” is not how media strategies should play out.
  2. They’re ghosting you. Can’t get a return call? Is your email going unanswered? If your agency is ghosting you, this is definitely a red flag that your agency, or at least your point of contact, is taking your business for granted. Revisit the service level agreement in your agency contract. Whether they’re failing repeatedly to meet the response times dictated, or if they’re simply lacking in professional etiquette, your agency is falling short.
  3. They’re running your campaigns poorly. Campaign strategy and management are complex. It’s likely one reason you’ve hired an agency. There are a myriad of constant considerations, checks, analyses, modifications and reporting, and that’s after the campaign is structured and set up correctly. If your agency is dropping the ball routinely at any stage(s), it’s probably costing you money and leads. For an example of what to watch for, refer to our handy infographic  17 Questions to Ask When You Think It’s Time to Hire a New Paid Search Agency.
  4. You’re finding mistakes for them. Mistakes happen. Humans and technology are both imperfect, so it’s understandable for the occasional agency error to pop up. If mistakes seem to be increasing and are being discovered by you, as the client, ask why. Understand if the agency team working your account has changed, if the execution has been outsourced to a new or different third-party vendor or if processes changed. Watch for patterns, and demand accountability.
  5. You’re only popular near the end of your contract. It’s amazing what contract renewals and budget season can do to rekindle interest. Agencies that have hit snooze on their clients tend to perk up when it’s time to ask for a renewal. This one ties directly to complacency. We hear it often from advertisers looking for a new agency.

What If It’s Not Just Them?

Before you start drafting a new agency RFP, take stock. Look at your team’s role in the relationship. At Mindstream Media Group, our most successful—and enjoyable—advertiser partnerships involve:

  • A collaborative disposition. Come to the table with your agency early and often, and if you have multiple agencies with interdependent action items and goals, bring them together.
  • Willingness to share data. Everything from customer and prospect lists to sales to current campaign access across channels makes the agency’s work better.
  • Follow-up. Just as your agency should respond quickly to requests, your own response and follow-through allows them to move swiftly to advance your goals.
  • Stable KPIs. Don’t move the goalpost on your agency. Agree to performance goals, and when your agency is hitting them, recognize it.
  • Follow-through. If you’ve committed to allowing direct communication to your locations, increasing budget for successful campaigns or expansion after successful testing (see Stable KPIs), don’t change the rules. Your agency has earned leads for you, and they’ve planned for further growth. Invest where you said you would, and trust your agency to do more.

If you’ve checked the boxes on your side of the partnership, and struggle with your agency’s complacency regardless, challenge them on their commitment. If the situation doesn’t improve immediately, it may be time to move on.

Ready to call it quits with your agency? Contact Mindstream Media Group to see what it’s like to feel the love, and Fast-Forward Your Business