Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect at Sonnhalter, is posting today on how to maximize your relationship with your agency.
One of the most important questions that marketing communication clients should ask themselves is, “Are we making the most out of our relationship and interactions with our agency?” Merely talking about how to maximize synergies and rapport between client and agency versus actually implementing such strategies is an entirely different story.
Here are a few way to get the most out of you client-agency relationships:
Be on the same page.
Fostering shared meaning and mutual understanding is a vital aspect of successful client-agency relationships. It is important to be on the same page. Setting clear expectations with one another enables clients and agencies to better communicate and forecast unexpected issues or changes. Establishing processes and responsibilities early on with an agency will decrease stress from time-crunching deadlines. Also, be sure to clearly define success with one another and develop a measurable method for evaluation. Understanding how agencies function and subsequently knowing how to utilize them can reduce the likelihood of miscommunication.
Efficiency is all about clear communication. To reduce confusion, frustrations and delay, have one main contact for the agency. Likewise, an agency should make sure its client knows with whom to communicate. There is nothing more frustrating than having too many cooks in the kitchen. Facilitating consistent, effective communication will aid in strengthening the bond between the client and agency. Companies are more likely to meet project goals by providing their agency with a concise point-of-view.
Make sure to invest time in the agency. Frequently engage in face-to-face communication by arranging regular meetings to review and discuss active projects – take a necessary break from the computer and telephone. Being available will create a well-oiled working relationship with an agency and produce quicker results.
Another strategy to ensure a healthy and open client-agency relationship is to address issues promptly and judiciously. Otherwise, molehills can develop into unnecessary mountains. Do not let problems fester, but swiftly find the root of the issue and respond with calm, measured and consistent action. Both client and agency should offer and receive feedback. For example, an agency may ask clients to participate in a customer satisfaction survey.
Be a partner.
Agencies want clients to treat them like a partner rather than a vendor. Involve the agency early on in the process. Offer access and resources to the agency, including resources outside of marketing such as sales or engineering – the more an agency knows about its client’s business the more it can help. Take the time to introduce the agency to fellow employees, so that they feel like a part of the team.
Strive to remain flexible and receptive to new ideas. Be willing to take risks, occasionally calculated ones. Even areas outside of marketing, such as product development, can sometimes benefit from fielding agency advice.
Above all, trust an agency’s judgment, expertise and point-of-view – people would not let their lawyers perform surgery on them, so likewise allow the agency to do what they have been hired to do. And remember, agencies are in the business of communication, so there is no such thing as over communicating with them.