Client-Agency Partners - Part II: Help Your Agency Help You

In last week’s blog, we covered the things you should expect from your agency to make the relationship robust. Yet, we couldn’t stop there. As with any relationship, it’s a two-way street. And if you really want to get things cooking, there are a few things we need from you.

  1. Information sharing – Your agency can’t work in a vacuum. Give them the tools they need to do a good job. Make sure they understand your overall goals and objectives, other plans you may have, research you may have done, the true benefit / differentiator behind what you’re trying to sell, etc. The more you can share, the better the agency can structure the solution.
  2. Access to other stakeholders – If stakeholders outside of marketing are going to be involved in making decisions on your project, give the agency access to them from the beginning. Allow the agency to interview them for their perspective; include the agency in your internal creative presentation as well as any internal feedback discussions. By feeling a part of the process, your internal stakeholders will give you buy-in. And the outside voice of your agency can help sell even the toughest of critics.
  3. An open mind – Clients often come to us specifically asking us to develop a certain type of tactic. Yet when we dig in on the real issue at hand, we see other options you might want to consider. We make a practice of giving our clients what they ask for, but if we see a way that might work better, we always suggest it. As a client, keep an open mind for these suggestions, as your agency is only trying to help you be a better marketer. And while the idea might not work for the task at hand for whatever reason, it may come in handy later on.
  4. The ability to be honest with you – If you don’t want your employees to act as yes men, why would you want your agency to? Allow your agency the ability to be frank and honest with you about what they see. They are merely trying to give you another perspective to help you make the right decisions. You don’t have to agree, but if they can’t do that, you risk falling into mediocrity.
  5. Trust – How could we blog about relationships without talking about trust! If you don’t feel that your agency is operating with your best interests in mind, talk to them about it or move on to one you can trust. Otherwise, the relationship will continue to break down further, and you won’t get the best results out of your marketing.

Yes, the client/agency relationship is like a marriage. It needs to be continuously cultivated from both sides. But a little cultivation can go a long way once you’ve got the momentum going. In this day and age, we won’t likely see any more 88-year relationships (like Chevrolet and Campbell Ewald), but a long-term association will be far more rewarding for all involved.