So Happy Together: The Ingredients for a Successful Partnership Between Clients and Their Marketing Agency
Fostering a trusted client-agency relationship can be tricky, and that’s held true even before first impressions involved securing solid WiFi and making sure that your pet isn’t about to photobomb the Zoom kickoff call.
So, whether it’s your first time working with an agency to help execute a specific project, or if you’re well-versed in introducing a third-party team to round out your pool of marketing resources, we want to help alleviate the awkwardness of getting to know each other – especially during these very different times.
Here’s the scoop on what clients should know before officially kicking off a client-agency relationship.
We need to understand how each other’s businesses work.
We love process, and everything we do is purposeful so we both get the most out of our relationship. It’s our job to walk you through the structure of our work and map out the steps we’ll be taking to inform our working relationship and the success of a project. If there’s a milestone we need to hit, you’ll know about it.
We also want to have a solid understanding of what you do and how your organization ticks. So, we’re going to ask you a ton of questions. It’s not a test – your answers are what form the basis of our work. A critical part of our up-front discovery is working with you to understand how your industry works, what your unique service offering (or product, or solution) provides, and how you currently position yourself in the market. It’s the only way we can shape an effective marketing strategy.
We need to be equally invested.
At times, it may seem like we’re poking holes in your marketing plan. Please remember this is only because we want to deliver on the promise we’ve made to you. The stakes are high on both sides. For you, as the client, it might be pressure to meet a targeted ROI, conversion rates, or hitting a sky-high yearly sales goal. For us, it’s about doing our job to support you to the very best of our ability. If we, as a larger team, don’t meet our goals, we’ve got to work together to identify why not, and how we can best optimize the approach to get there. When we meet (or exceed!) our shared goals, it’s a joint celebration.
We need to define the roles of working together.
Ever been one of 12 recipients copied on an email chain and unsure who is supposed to respond? Yeah, we don’t like that either. When we first embark on our new client-agency relationship, we take the time to understand the stakeholders on your team, as well as introduce you to the dedicated people on our team assigned to your specific engagement. There will never be a day when you don’t know who to go to for a certain aspect of your project. We like to clearly identify roles so both parties understand all and any responsibilities and expectations.
Speaking of roles, let’s talk about the feedback and approval process.
Sharing content feedback can be tricky, especially if the collection method is not consistent and the stakeholders responsible for reviewing are not identified (see above). We have the tools in place to establish a consistent approach for sharing consolidated feedback that works for both parties (no more chasing down multiple spreadsheets!) and of course, we’ll share helpful reminders in terms of the timeframe feedback is required in order to stick to the schedule.
When giving feedback, we want you to be honest.
It’s really hard to hurt our feelings. Trust us. We wouldn’t work at an agency if that was the case – we are used to taking feedback and making the right adjustments to deliver what you want. So, if we missed the mark, please say so. Part of ensuring we’re set up for long-term success is learning what you like, and more importantly, what you don’t. Even more, please tell us why. The more transparent feedback, the better.
Regular, Open Communication.
On the topic of transparency, we’ve got to keep the lines of communication wide open. We don’t want to be a name on the other side of an inbox. Face-to-face meetings are essential, even if they’re on Zoom, and we believe a quick phone call in place of an email can do wonders in terms of efficiently getting things done. We’ll be checking in often to make sure we’re on track, sharing updates on project health, budget, keeping you apprised well in advance of any timeline adjustments – and we’ll check in to make sure you feel good about things, too.
It seems pretty simple, right? Ultimately, we want you to feel like we are an accessible part of your marketing team. Entire marketing teams simply do not work in one room together anymore. In fact, it’s not uncommon if brands we work with have teams that span continents. All that aside, at the end of the day, it’s our job to integrate ourselves into your team, bridging the gap between agency and client to drive tangible, successful results.