Agencies have their own unique gloss on evaluating the success of a campaign.
- Agencies care about achieving higher creative standards.
- Agencies frequently care about things like whether a campaign helps them add another trophy to the case or brings the respect of peers and the trade press.
- And it goes without saying that agencies care about whether the work they do for the campaign meets internal benchmarks for profitability.
Sometimes this means setting aside biases (both personal and institutional).
In cause marketing campaigns, the job of the agency isn’t to be clever for the sake of being clever. The agency's job is to help create a campaign that works; that is, a campaign that sells.
Last year Dan Pallotta, himself now an agency man after founding and running several anti-AIDS causes, made an interesting point in the Harvard Business Review blogs. Businesses sometimes scorn nonprofits as being inherently not self-sustainable, he writes.
But, “if reliance on the wealth of others makes a business not self-sustaining, then no business is self-sustaining. The music industry, for example, is not self-sustaining, because it relies on the wealth of consumers, who use their money to buy albums,” says Pallotta.
What can help make nonprofits self-sustainable? Here's how Pallotta answers:
“Most people want to help others. Their lives would feel incomplete without this connection to humanity. We can tap into this human desire by marketing compassion with the same rigor as we market luxury cars.”That’s the ultimate assessment for an agency. Did they bring value that made the campaign more effective? Or did they bring creative that won cheers from their peers and yawns from the nonprofit's stakeholders?