Building Trust through Transparency: The Power of Honesty in the Client-Agency Relationship

In the world of e-commerce, businesses are constantly striving to capture the hearts (and wallets) of online shoppers. For D2C e-commerce brands, running the business can be a difficult task, but it becomes even harder when you partner with a digital marketing agency who doesn’t communicate regularly or share a detailed status of your accounts with you. 

That’s why the success of the client-agency relationship often hinges on a crucial, but often overlooked, element: Honesty. The relationship between an e-commerce brand and their marketing agency is not just transactional; it’s built on trust, transparency, and mutual respect. In this blog post, we’ll explore why honesty is the bedrock of a successful e-commerce client-agency partnership and how it can lead to long-term success for both parties.

Why Trust is Important between D2C E-commerce Brands and their Marketing Agency

As a business owner, you understand that you can’t simply build your website, put your products on it, and expect customers to come flooding in. At some point, reaching out to a digital marketing agency for assistance is going to be the next natural step in your progression and brand growth.

It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive. You need to know that you have a dedicated digital marketing agency partner who’s focused on improving your company’s overall profitability using contribution margin and reaching (or exceeding) your goals. You also need to know that they’re ensuring shoppers get the right message at the right time in their customer journey, so they choose your products over other brands. If you don’t feel confident you can trust your marketing agency, their motives, their methods, and what they are telling you—then there is no foundation on which to build a successful client-agency relationship. 

This is where trust comes in. When you work with a marketing agency to help grow your brand, you’re literally asking someone else to raise your business, meaning that this partner takes over managing part or all of your brand. You have to put a lot of trust and faith in these hired marketing pros to take something you’ve worked so hard to build and elevate it to its next phase of business growth.

How to Verify You’re Dealing with an Honest Agency 

As the client, it can be frustrating if you aren’t quite sure you trust the agency partner you’ve hired, or if you don’t know they truly have your best interest at heart. Like with all relationships, building a successful one may take some time, and there are situations where you might not see eye-to-eye with your digital marketing agency. However, there are a few ways to ensure you’re dealing with an honest marketing agency, so you can feel confident in your decision and partner:

They maintain an open line of communication.

Communication is key, and this is especially true when building a successful client-agency relationship. As the client, you should be fully informed about the strategies, tactics, and progress of your digital marketing initiatives. An honest agency partner provides your company with accurate and comprehensive information that helps enable you to make informed business decisions. Whether the conversation is about paid social campaigns, website optimizations, or search engine marketing, open communication creates an environment where both parties can work together effectively toward shared goals.

They’re open about any setbacks.

An honest agency isn’t afraid to admit when something is amiss. Maybe you’re experiencing unwanted overspend in your Bing accounts, or your paid social campaign isn’t quite performing the way you intended because of an unexpected platform glitch. A digital marketing agency that’s open about setbacks and is transparent in their communication will make you feel supported. They are there to provide peace of mind instead of hiding any issues or setbacks they come across, consulting with you as soon as they happen. When both you and your agency partner are upfront about obstacles, your hired marketing arm should collaborate and adapt their strategies accordingly. 

They’re effective at problem solving and adapting.

In the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape, new challenges will arise so flexibility is crucial for staying competitive. Instead of quickly deciding on (and/or implementing) a solution to a problem in a vacuum, an honest agency partner consults with you. They explain their proposed solution and why it is ideal for solving the problem at hand. An honest agency is also open to hearing your point of view: Why you believe the solution is good or bad, and how they can adjust their proposed solution so that it meets—and exceeds—your goals.

Here at Omnitail, our clients’ success is based on the effective relationships we form with them. How do we do this? By understanding that trust is vitally important, communicating in a straightforward and transparent manner, and keeping honesty at the forefront of our interactions.

How Honesty, Customer Data, & Reporting on Contribution Margin Intersect

They say that numbers don’t lie; at the same time, statistics can be selected and woven into a story you’re led to believe is true because it makes the storyteller “look good.” This dishonest approach will ruin any trust built between the client and agency partner and if there’s distrust, the entire foundation of the relationship is at risk. 

For example, some agencies or ad platforms may promise that if you spend more, you will meet or exceed your goals and improve ROAS (which may be true, at least to some extent). 

For example, let’s say you earn $1,000 in revenue from paid ads in a given month. When you jump on a reporting call with your agency, they give you the awesome news that you’ve achieved a 5x ROAS! Here’s the reporting they give you:

  • You spent $200 on ads
  • ROAS is 5x (1,000/200 = 5), which increased month over month

And that’s it; it’s all this agency gives you. This is enough of a “tale” to give you the impression that you can spend even more on ads to continue earning 5x+ ROAS. But, this really isn’t the whole story. What about those other costs that go into running a business, how do those factor into profit reporting? So let’s look at this same example through a contribution margin lens. 

You earn $1,000 in revenue from paid ads in a given month:

  • The cost of goods sold (COGS) averages 30% of revenue (or $300)
  • Your monthly shipping cost for sales attributed to paid ads is $100
  • You spent $200 on ads
  • AND you only keep $400 of that $1,000 as profit

Here’s what the math looks like:

Contribution= $1000 {revenue} - (($300 + 100) {COGS & shipping} - $200 {Ad Spend}. Profit = $400

In order to be truly profitable in e-commerce marketing, the agency you work with must care about the actual success of your company and what ALL the data (not just some) tells them. You don’t just want numbers to improve; you need to consider all of your costs against your revenue and the profit you are keeping from your spend. 

When we walk about “honest reporting,” your marketing agency partner should be answering (at minimum) these questions with their ad reporting:

  • What is the actual profit? Is it increasing, staying flat, or decreasing?
  • What happens to profit when ad spend increases? Decreases?
  • Are your COGS increasing, staying flat, or decreasing?
  • Are we driving your business in the right direction?

The Omnitail Difference for D2C E-commerce Brands

At Omnitail, we help D2C e-commerce brands learn how to measure their success through profitability instead of vanity metrics like ROAS. Doing this provides greater accountability, integrity, and transparency around the health of your e-commerce business. 

Our experienced team uses our proprietary in-house technology for managing and reporting on your campaigns to help you make the most out of your efforts. As a dedicated digital marketing agency, we take the time to analyze the whole story of your accounts and optimize programs based on what’s best for you and your bottom line. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you

A Digital Marketing Agency Bringing Honesty to the Client-Agency Relationship 

As you’ve read in this post, honesty in the client-agency relationship is one of the main building blocks of success. Working with a marketing agency that provides honesty and transparency in all of their communication with you is ideal, so that you always know what’s going on in your accounts and why. When you’re looking for a digital marketing agency that treats your e-commerce brand like its own, consider Omnitail. We spend our customers’ dollars like we would our own, and each member of our expert team takes the time to do what’s best for you and your bottom line. Give us a shout today to start talking shop, and how Omnitail may be the best marketing partner for you!

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