Avoiding the Pitfalls of an Amazon Agency Transition

BY Caitlin Kang | RETAIL MEDIA
June 2, 2021

Let’s embark on a journey together! The first step is choosing a destination which can be comparable to picking the new Amazon agency that’s right for you and your brand. After you decipher the key measurable characteristics that matter most to you (proven performance, an excellent team, happy existing clients, etc.), then you start the vetting process. 

The fun has now begun! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love being courted? You then decide on the 2-3 agencies that check all the boxes for your key measurable characteristics and make your final decision. Brands should aim for this process to only take a month or two.

Ready to start your journey to your new destination? 

Well, this all of a sudden is confusing. You may be asking yourself, “Who is leading me? How am I getting there? Is anyone coming with me? How do I tell my old agency that I’m leaving?” It would be best if you had answered all of these questions leading up to when you sign on the dotted line. When you’ve decided on your new Amazon agency, the feeling you want is a feeling of comfort, not confusion. 

Playbook to Avoiding the Pitfalls of an Amazon agency Transition

Here are the top 3  Biggest Pitfalls to avoid during a new Amazon agency transition. These will help you navigate effortlessly to your new destination – Now, let’s dive into this journey!

#1 Biggest Pitfall: Not letting your new Amazon agency get to know YOU Before you sign a contract with a new Amazon agency, you should be introduced to the Media Services team supporting your brand and provided an onboarding plan through the first month (at minimum).  To assist prospective new clients, we put in place a guide from our team that stays with new clients from the beginning, so there is no confusion. Absolutely the best way to kick off a strong partnership. Initial steps in creating an understanding between both teams are the following essential items that you should discuss –

  1. Tell them about your Brand – In the vetting process, your new Amazon agency will learn a lot about you, your team, and your brand but probably not all the nuances. You will need to provide additional historical details that clarify how your brand got to where you are today and at least your three-month plan for the business in general (preferably the rest of the year). 
  2. Tell them about your Current Amazon Set Up & Performance – Your understanding of the current execution and how you feel about the performance. If you are unhappy with both execution and performance, your new Amazon agency will need to know why. Here are a few questions that should be answered:
    • What is it about the execution that you don’t like? 
    • Was there a misalignment?
    • Is performance not hitting expectations?
    • Was there a misalignment for both execution and performance, and what factors caused this?

The new Amazon agency should know this detail upfront to ensure they understand when you transition over what goals they aim to achieve. If you are not clear about execution or performance, this is where we bring in the old agency.

  • Give them Amazon Access – To facilitate the transition, your new Amazon agency needs to see what the current Amazon Management looks like for themselves. Preferably completing this step in the vetting process is best to ensure they give you initial feedback on improving. If your guide is taking you to your new destination, they need to know what they are bringing with them! So give them this clarity and do not delay. 

# 2 Biggest Pitfall: Rocky Transition – Once you’ve committed to a new Amazon agency, you should notify your old agency in an email that you are ending the partnership and on what date. If you have a good rapport, this notice should abide by your contract and can be a week or three months in advance. It should not matter. If you do not have a good rapport, then strictly abide by the contractual obligation. Your old agency should see the partnership through despite this. From there, your old agency serves three essential purposes 

  • Fulfill Your Wishes and Staying the Course – Meaning your current Amazon Management should stay the course with what was agreed upon. There should be no huge increases or decreases in spend that are not planned. If you start to notice deviations to what you’ve committed to, then raise the red flag right away with your old agency. There should be no surprises. Since they now have access, your new Amazon agency can also monitor to ensure expectations are met before their partnership start date. 
  • Tell You Current Campaign Details – You should leave the partnership with complete clarity as to the inner workings of everything under their Amazon Management. If you have any questions regarding execution, including campaign setup, audience targeting, keyword data, etc., this is the time to gather this information. 
  • Give You Reporting You Love – How many of us have said, “I loved that report that showed metrics in this specific way”? These thoughts, in hindsight, happen plenty of times, and gathering all the reporting and views you lean on heavily should be collected and provided to your new Amazon agency. If you need clarity on where the data is populating or any specifics, your old agency should give you this information to ensure you have a stable transition.

#3 Biggest Pitfall: Confusion about Onboarding Timelines and Expectations – Your new Amazon agency is the final destination. Once actions in the above #1 and #2 are complete, they will have a very clear picture of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go. Now, what’s the plan? We get to our new destination, and then what. Did we book a hotel? Are we really museum people? Itinerary, anyone? A clear timeline should be laid out dictating the first month of partnership with the following put in place:

  • Talk to your Guide Weekly – How often will you meet with your guide? We recommend speaking at least once a week. Email is a valuable medium, but your guide should collaborate with you where you work best. So let them know from the beginning how you like to work – A good partner wants a collaborative, mutually happy rapport from the start!
  • Understand That Onboarding Will Be In Phases – Since you’ve given access to your guide and supporting team in advance, they will be able to provide you with a preliminary framework of 3 key factors that could be shifting during the transition:
    1. Campaign Rebuild Needed: Our team advocates that it is critical to phase the cutover by products and not by campaigns. In most cases, we implement Product-level Campaign and Ad Group architecture for optimal performance. Which means a full or partial campaign rebuild is likely if campaigns are not built in this way before coming onboard. Therefore, a clear plan is provided detailing an overview of our approach, how campaigns will be restructured, and a discussion to provide any additional details. Your new Amazon agency should be able to give all details around what they plan to do and make sure you are 100% clear before moving forward (Click Here to read Momentum Commerce’s The Importance of Product Level Control in Amazon Advertising article to learn more)
    2. Bidding Technology: This is an integral part of an Amazon agency transition and you should have a high level overview about before transitioning over. There may no change to how bids have been adjusted previously but it’s best to have a open dialogue about your new Amazon agency. 
    3. Team Member’s Responsponsibilities: You have a guide and supporting team devoted to your brand. Collaborating with them will be easiest through understanding all the members’ roles, how they are servicing you and if this changes after onboarding. A great way to streamline communications is the new Amazon agency setting up a team alias that includes all team members supporting, so you only need to have this alias in your emails and know that the pertinent team member will respond. We love making it easy to communicate with as all good partners should!
  • Be Flexible with Onboarding Timelines – It may take them some time to hit your goal or restructure your campaigns. Receive a clear timeline for when your new Agency expects this to take place and be patient. If you have clear communication and understand expectations, this will mitigate any surprises or overlooked items that are important to you. Be honest and understanding. Trust your guide!
  • Yes, Trust your Guide – They’ve done their due diligence, put in place a plan, and communicated to you the timeline with weekly check-ins to ensure there is no confusion. Hand over the map. Take a leap of faith and have no fear. This is probably the most challenging step but most important. Your new Amazon agency only has your best interest and will help you navigate any unexpected pitfalls that may come up. 

You now have the Playbook to Avoiding the Pitfalls of an Amazon agency Transition. What are you still doing here? Go find your destination and enjoy the journey!