Like pairing fine wine with artisan cheese, the client-agency relationship is a beautiful medley of innovation, execution and synergy.
Okay, it’s rarely that romantic. But in my five years working in the agency world, I have been witness to marketing programs that consistently outperform objectives, which are undoubtedly fueled by a winning client-agency relationship.
No matter the size or duration of the marketing program, effective communication and a level of trust continues to be attributes that fuel a successful agency-client relationship. Below are 6 pieces of advice from an Account Manager (me) to existing or future clients, in how to make the most of our ever-growing relationship.
#1 – Don’t hold back on your feedback.
The last thing you should worry about is hurting our feelings. Likely, you or your team will have the key inside scoop on brand standards, what your audience best responds to or what stakeholders are expecting. Our job is to deliver an end product that will wow customers and stakeholders alike – and it’s your honest feedback that helps us reach this goal.
Additionally, don’t feel rushed to give final feedback or request edits during the big reveal meeting. Clients often find that reviewing alone the next day or seeking team feedback helps to paint a clear picture of which edits will be most impactful.
#2 – Share more than you think is necessary.
Especially when a client-agency relationship is new, share as much information about your company, objectives, target audience and marketing mix as possible. I recommend creating a shared folder in DropBox or Google Drive that can hold informative assets such as persona research, case studies, past marketing collateral, corporate strategy decks and more.
The more your marketing agency can familiarize itself with your company, the higher quality and more effective its output will be.
#3 – Consider us your personal champions.
Any great marketing agency operates under this notion: When you succeed, we succeed. Most often, your client-agency relationship will be focused on the objectives and tactics outlined in the program agreement, but there’s a hidden opportunity for clients everywhere.
Aside from company and stakeholder objectives, our client contacts have their own objectives as well: nailing that next presentation, surpassing last year’s results, communicating ROI to your boss.
Don’t hesitate to share personal objectives with your account manager or agency contact. We’re more than happy to provide tailored reports, pull supporting data, or lend expertise in your strategy deck. Because when you succeed, we succeed.
#4 – Ask as many questions as you want.
Clients often preface their questions with “This is a stupid question, but…” It’s an agency’s responsibility to educate, support and challenge our clients. The client-agency relationship is one in which both parties grow as we learn about each other’s practices.
Additionally, one of the benefits of working with an agency is having access to expertise in many fields of marketing: SEO, content, influencer relations, paid media, social. It’s our job to stay on top of the latest innovations, tools and tactics – so take advantage of the knowledge at your fingertips!
No question is stupid, and we love that you’re interested in the details! So ask away.
#5 – Take the time to get internal sign-off.
Deadlines seem to always loom too close for comfort, so we understand that taking the lead on signing off on drafts or mocks may seem like the most efficient way of keeping the timeline on track. But far too often, stakeholders enter into the creative discussion when work is nearly completed. This means timelines get pushed out to accommodate last minute edits or complete revamps.
In my experience, taking an extra day or two to get internal sign-off in the planning phases of a project will help make sure the project progresses in the most efficient manner.
#6 – Be willing to experiment and push boundaries.
As a package, your company’s offerings, industry, audience, budget and goals are unique from all other companies. Marketing agencies have the advantage of working in a multitude of industries over many years – and have likely uncovered the most successful and unsuccessful strategies. This is likely why you’ve come to them in the first place!
Sure, we can help you to meet your goals with tried and true tactics, but for your marketing initiatives to truly exceed, there must be a level of experimentation and innovative thinking. We’ll bring new ideas that push the boundaries of what you’ve done before. Be open to experimentation, A/B testing and venturing outside the box.
For more tips on how to make the most of your client-agency relationship, read: How to Optimize Your Content Marketing Agency Investment.
If you’re in need of a new content marketing agency or just want to explore your options, contact TopRank Marketing for a free consultation.