The Startling Brand-Agency ROI Disconnect and 5 Ways to Address It

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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2024-06-18

As we sift through the abundance of marketing research published this year, it’s clear that ROI has emerged as one of the most talked-about subjects for marketers. That’s not surprising, but  new research conducted by Ascend2 brought up a few startling stats that really spoke to me about the disconnects that abound in our industry right now.

According to the report, a large gap exists between the way brands and agencies view ROI today: 63% of agencies are confident in their ability to demonstrate ROI, but only 33% of brands are very pleased. This huge gap shows that agencies aren’t adequately addressing client needs.

Another gap exists around feelings about transparency, with 63% of agencies happy with it, and only 42% of brands.

So what do brands want? No matter the vertical market, the study says that brands want their agencies to perform, with agency evaluations based on these priorities: 

  • Revenue growth—54%
  • ROI—47% 
  • Lead generation—40% 
  • Engagement metrics—39% 
  • Customer satisfaction scores—39%
  • Conversion—36%
  • Brand equity—28%

With revenue growth, ROI, customer acquisition and lead gen topping the charts on the list above, I couldn’t feel more confident in our direction at OMI. As a performance marketing agency, our aim is to deliver high-impact results. (Check out our case study on how we created SMB engagement at scale – and business growth – for a leading e-commerce platform provider.)

These are a few of the ways we eliminate ROI disconnects and deliver tangible business-building outcomes:

  • Maintain Open Communication: As brands and agencies begin their engagements, and just as importantly--as they continue working together--open communication is essential. Being very specific and transparent about goals, measurement practices, and outcomes both up front and throughout the relationship, and holding each other accountable to them, is the only way to boost true ROI.


  • Start with Good Data: The most important first step in meeting your campaign goals is to reach the right people with your messages. That requires high-quality data. We've built our business around high-quality third-party B2B data, viewing it as a Living File® that needs to be regularly maintained and updated. Our massive, award-winning B2B database, which includes 140 million contacts (all are manager-, professional, and director-level and above) with email addresses, fuels our campaigns and the many services we offer.


  • Identify Serious Buyers: Potential customers actively search for solutions to their challenges every day—browsing online, reading articles, downloading white papers. This online behavior, which can be sourced as “intent data” to fuel your campaigns, is an ROI game-changer because it reveals your prospects' intentions to buy a product or service just like yours. A recent study by Forrester Research indicates that 85% of companies using intent data report achieving business benefits, such as increased response rates from outbound marketing and more successful sales prospecting.


  • With intent data, up-to-date insights are critical. We ingest as many as 14 billion fresh digital intent signals each week. The intent signals aren’t based on the websites that are being viewed but on the content that’s being consumed on those websites. This provides deeper insights into the prospect’s interests and preferences to fuel more effective personalization, which in turn results in higher campaign ROI.


  • Go here for our recent write-up on all the business benefits of intent data.


  • Understand the “Universal Person:” When it comes to customer acquisition campaigns, whether using intent data or other marketing solutions, tracking the “universal person” has become increasingly important as the lines between our personal and business lives blur. Linking the interest paths of the individual as both a consumer and a professional can give you gain a more complete view of your prospects, which improves targeting, personalization, and ultimately, ROI.


  • Demand Full Transparency: To gain clear insights into campaign outcomes every step of the way and to accurately inform future strategy, brands need to demand full transparency from their agencies. Our data-driven approach to all of our services, including media activation, is based on transparency—relative to fees, audiences, measurement, and outcomes. When agencies put clients in position to identify, engage and activate the most accurate, targeted omni-channel audiences, the result is campaigns that reach real people that matter to your business—not bots, not made for advertising sites, and not irrelevant audiences. This philosophy is core to our business and to driving ROI.


To eliminate the disconnects between brands and agencies and elevate ROI, it all comes down to data, accountability, and transparency. Please reach out to our team to discuss how we can get your marketing ROI where it needs to be.


At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

  • The Executive's 15-Minute Guide to Building a Successful Email Marketing Database

  • A 15-Minute Guide to Fortune 2,000 Businesses and Executives

  • Five Best Practices for Using Email Marketing to Target SMBs