Understanding your clients' perception of your team's performance and where your team can improve to meet their needs is powerful information to support your team's growth--in services, size and maturity. Our performance benchmarking and customer satisfaction tool PartnerPulse measures team performance in relation to key performance indicators (KPIs) such as attitude, effort, people and skills, and more. In addition, PartnerPulse asks clients (partners, stakeholders, etc.) to provide feedback such as "does the creative team regularly make a positive difference in your team" and "what is the single most important thing the creative team can do to improve its performance?" Each year we report on trends from across our survey groups as compared to previous years' outcomes, as well as the scores of external agencies.

2015 Results
Each of the 14 KPIs that comprise the in-house benchmark were improved upon year-over-year, though improvements were minimal this year as no one single score changed more than one-tenth of a point accounting for an average of 1% change. This reflects on depth of our sample size, as it is much more difficult to move the needle without a significant trend in performance across the industry compared to in the first few years of PartnerPulse's existence. The highest scoring KPIs were Attitude, Effort, Trust & Advocacy, and People & Skills.

The lowest scoring KPIs were Innovation and Leveraging Learning:

  • Innovation, which is defined as "shows innovation in recommendations including (but not limited to) big ideas, campaign development, and implementation; innovation is applied traditional marketing channels as well emerging media, where applicable," is a tough category to excel in; client standards are high and the space is constantly evolving. Even external agencies didn't score well in this category; in fact, internal agencies scored higher than external agencies (13%).
  • Leveraging Learning is another challenging category, but one the in-house agency is uniquely positioned to deliver against. The KPI is defined as "demonstrates and uses knowledge of, or experience with other categories, brands, markets, geographies to the benefit of the client's business, and shares learning with the Client." Again, this was also a low scoring area for external agencies and one in which in-house teams scored higher.

Not only is the in-house benchmark exceeding external agency scores in the above two categories, in-house teams received higher marks in the additional 12 categories as well! The most significant advantages were in "Business and Product Knowledge" and "Innovation" (yes, our lowest scoring KPI was also one of our biggest advantages). Of course one could argue while the KPI definitions are standard across the two agency types that the performance expectations may be different, but I would hope we push back and say they shouldn't be--we want to be held to the same high standards. In addition in drawing comparisons between internal and external agencies I am not looking to creative competitiveness, as in most organizations in-house agencies and external agencies are complementary approaches to creative resourcing. The goal behind sharing the comparative results is to reinforce the quality of in-house teams, which unfortunately is still questioned in some organizations.

About PartnerPulse
PartnerPulse is designed to help in-house creative teams:

  • Collect actionable intelligence to strengthen and grow client partnerships,
  • Track and improve team performance through an industry-specific valuation methodology and annual feedback program, and
  • Compare performance against other in-house and external agencies.

Our custom survey for in-house creative services teams delivers the insights in-house creative leaders need to build better working relationships with internal clients by:

  • Employing standardized questions and an evaluation methodology used in external agency assessments by organizations such as McDonald's, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Nokia, Kellogg's and others,
  • Measuring performance against client expectations across 13 key performance indicators (attitude, effort, quality of work, project management, etc.),
  • Measuring overall relationship through likelihood to recommend, positive impact to the client's business and open-ended feedback questions, and
  • Providing actionable performance intelligence in the form of qualitative feedback, quantitative data and benchmarking.

Customer feedback is a critical component to shaping your creative team's services and service levels. The feedback you gain allows you to address development opportunities, as well as growth opportunities. I hope you'll consider PartnerPulse to support your feedback process, but most importantly I hope you survey your clients in a formal method and create a plan to address that feedback. You and your team will be better for it.

Want to learn how your team scores against other in-house creative teams and external agencies? Contact Cindy Ponce to learn how PartnerPulse can help your organization.