A Client’s Guide To A Successful Relationship With An Agency

  • The client-agency relationship is the crux of a successful marketing campaign. So, if you get the relationship right, fame, strong relations and success is assured, but if you get it wrong, monetary waste and less business is what you get.

What exactly does a client-agency relationship entail?

  • The advertising agency (in some cases, an internal marketing team) is the vital point of contact for the client’s message to reach the audience. This relationship is definitely a two-way street, both the parties need to be equally invested towards making the relationship a success.

  • Mutual trust is of extreme importance in this relationship, so as to ensure a successful business exchange. However, at times, the client ends up making the agency feel like an outsider or a third party, and this can hinder the strength of the client-agency relationship. Instead, the client should think of the agency as a problem solver of their various marketing or advertising problems.

  • This write-up involves a walk-through through the different behavioral attributes that a client needs to adhere to in order to ensure a strong and binding relationship with its agency.

Have Good Faith In Your Agency

  • A well-developed brief from you allows the agency to understand what is needed of them and act accordingly. Hence, it is extremely crucial for you to put all your cards out on the table for the agency to see and grasp. If not, this could lead to vagueness and misunderstandings between the two parties. You have to have an open mind in order to attend to all queries of the agency towards the interpretation of the brief.

  • So, this briefing session needs to be an open and interactive conversation between the two parties, because this is where trust is formed and communication links are established. For instance, if your requirement is that of an SEO solution from the agency, it is necessary that you put all details on the table surrounding this SEO problem for the media agency to understand. Nothing can be kept confidential and later revealed, only for the media agency to feel mistrusted for the same.

Collaboration Is Key

  • Collaboration is the core essence of this relationship; both the parties are expected to meet each other halfway. Regular communication and information sharing enables the relationship to be a long-lasting one, as the transparency strengthens the bond further with your agency.

  • For this, the key is to undertake weekly meetings with 4 clear objectives: A discussion on the work done in the last week, a discussion on the work to be done in the coming week, a snapshot into the statistics of campaigns & traction and lastly, a conversation around the pending matters (pending briefs, pending approvals, so on & so forth). Such weekly meetings ensure the client and agency are in sync.

Encourage Them To Think Of The Big Ideas!

  • Setting up an internal marketing team might be an uphill task, but certainly, not an impossible one.

  • At times, the cost of accommodating and maintaining an internal marketing team with the pre-established infrastructure might be lesser in comparison to the creative fees in terms of an agency retainer.

  • Yet, why do a lot of brands prefer to have external agencies? The answer lies in the word ‘external’. While one would expect an agency to work on a brand thinking of themselves as an internal team, one cannot take away the fact that it actually is an external team.

  • This works in favor of the relationship, as creative professionals, beyond a point, are not bound by guidelines and restrictions, and they could go on creative flights which an internal team member might not be able to.

  • The results of these creative flights would be a big idea, a disruptive campaign, or a thought that could help the brand elevate to a different curve altogether. These big ideas could be campaign specific, or even extensions to the business offerings.

  • As a client, you would rather let your agency think without restrictions, for even if you do not wish to go ahead with their proposal, the death of an idea is only a rejection away!

Prompt Payments

  • One thing that creates awkwardness in a client-agency relationship is irregular payments from clients. A client expects the agency to keep their side of the bargain, then it is expected for them to keep their side of it, too. An agency chasing after you for payments on time does not only hamper your image but also future business with that agency, given it affects your relationship adversely.

  • Now that you have the list on hand to know what strengthens your relationship with the agency, start building on these with your agency for the betterment of your business.