How to get the most out of your marketing agency
Competition is continually increasing in business. Constantly pushing to be the first, the largest, the fastest, the newest and the best in any given sector, drives competition and the need to be on top of the business game.
Sales and marketing activity has to be scrutinised to make sure it establishes and maintains a company’s competitive edge, and more importantly, generates sales.
Many businesses depend on external agencies for support. But how does a business develop a strong relationship that maximises the valuable agency-client partnership? How does a business ensure a strong return on investment and, ultimately, prove it has achieved the required results?
Marketing agencies aim to provide expert support drawing on knowledge, experience and resource that clients may not have within their own business. In the past, agencies tended to specialise – digital/media/creative – but now, clients are increasingly expecting agencies to provide a more comprehensive, integrated and holistic suite of services.
So, how do you get the best from your relationship with your agency?
Here are some top tips to help you make the most of your agency relationship:
- Set out expectations
Setting clear, measurable objectives at the start of a new relationship is crucial. This will help to keep everyone on the right track from the start, avoiding problems later down the line. A good account manager will work with you to set out the agency’s expectations of you too. This is a relationship after all, and all relationships work better when they are not one sided. Be clear about things like how you prefer to be communicated with (face to face/telephone/email) and how often, how you want information reported and any important deadlines that need to be met.
- Be honest
Honesty is essential to building a foundation for trust. Again, it comes back to effective relationships being a two-way street. If you are honest with your agency, you should expect honesty in return. Budgets, feedback, deadlines and expectations should be true – no matter how challenging they may seem.
- Work hard to provide a good brief
The brief/specification is arguably one of the most important pieces of information shared between a client and agency. However, it is often neglected. Define the target audience, explain the theme, provide your likes, dislikes and sources of inspiration. The better the brief, the better the end product. Remember to make sure that your brief allows for creativity – to truly get the best of your creative teams, you must provide inspiration.
- Share information
Agencies are not mind readers. Sharing information, even if it may seem insignificant, helps an agency become immersed in your brand and business and deliver more insightful and impactful campaigns. Knowledge is power and, the more clued-up your agency is about how your business works, the better positioned they will be to help you when any organisational or market challenges arise.
- Take a flexible approach
New trends emerge and situations change. Some things work well, others, not so much. Flexibility and adapting a plan to respond to what has been learnt along the way is what makes a robust marketing plan work. Yes, change can be scary and sometimes feels like hard work and effort is wasted. Remember, you employ an agency to add expertise, advice and knowledge to the team. When agencies provide a solution or idea that you hadn’t considered before or that goes in a different direction to what the business has done before, listen, consider and perhaps take it on board.
- Provide feedback
Timely feedback is essential in the client-agency relationship. All too often a project finishes and it’s onto the next without taking the time to evaluate and provide feedback. If you’re not happy with something, then the only way to try to solve it is to let your agency know. Likewise, if you’re really happy with the way a project is going, there is nothing that makes us happier than being given some appreciation from a happy client!
- Invest time in the relationship
Viewing your agency as a partner in your success rather than just a supplier is one of the first steps to creating a long-term relationship that will yield results for years to come. Communication is key here – rather than relying on emails or conference calls, meet face to face as much as you can. It’s much easier (and more fun!) to get more out of your meetings when you can engage and share ideas with each other directly.
At Bluestorm, we pride ourselves on building strong and lasting relationships, being flexible with our clients adding real value and ultimately, being good people to work with. If you would like to learn more about our experience in delivering strategic marketing and PR campaigns, get in touch and let’s have a chat.