Working on both the corporate side and the agency side has given me a unique perspective. I have learned that there are some very specific and simple key components to a successful engagement, but they are often overlooked. As with any partnership, both sides need to be fully engaged, responsive and open-minded at all times.
But developing a strong relationship between the client and agency takes a bit more than that. In a perfect world, you are working side by side to achieve the goals you have set together, but in order to do that you need to have a solid foundation in place.
Here are the five things you can do to get the most out of working with an agency:
1. Clearly Set Expectations
Make sure goals and needs are clearly stated and understood by all involved. Once these are established, the agency should structure a custom plan with programs that will best meet what the client is trying to achieve. Clients are more open to an agency’s approach if they know the agency has put time and effort into understanding their business and organizational goals. Once a client-approved plan is in place, both parties should be ready to get things in motion.
2. Work in Tandem
To achieve these goals, you need to work together in a structured fashion to avoid any conflicts or duplicate efforts. Defining responsibilities at the beginning of an engagement helps to streamline the work and expectations of both the client and the agency. This is something that can be reviewed and changed throughout the course of the relationship.
3. Communicate Frequently
Communicate via email or phone on a daily basis in addition to weekly cadence calls to make sure projects are on track. Quarterly in person meetings are a great way to spend time with each other to review results and brainstorm new ideas and approaches. Staying connected strengthens the relationship and ensures more successful results.
4. Mix It Up
Like any relationship sometimes clients and the agency get too comfortable. It’s easy to get into a daily groove and shy away from new things. I can’t tell you how many times I heard a client say, “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it” without fully understanding if the old way was effective. Changing things up - even for testing purposes - is a good thing and is something that comes with trust. When you are in a partnership and truly trust that your agency has your best interest in mind, it is easy to develop and execute new programs and ideas.
5. Share Results
Reporting is an essential part of any marketing and/or public relations program. Knowing what messaging and channels are performing well and what areas need adjustments is important data to have as you begin to build out future marketing plans. Often, clients are too focused on the quick hits and not the actual process it takes to get successful strategic results. Working together to find the right balance between immediate wins and long-term nurturing campaigns is critical.
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