How to Effectively Manage the Client-Agency Relationship
Mar 10, General Management - Your client-agency partnership depends on Five Reasons Your Client-Agency Communications (and Relationship). Jul 24, Make sure your needs and expectations align from day one. Here's how you can ensure a smooth and pleasant agency-client relationship for. Managing Client-Agency Relationships. HubSpot Agency Partner Training. Learn the best practices for building healthy client relationships, how to position your.
Here are five reasons why communication issues arise and how you, as the client, can eliminate them from your future partnerships. Moreover, the survey results revealed a deep disconnect between belief and acuity: When Tim Leake, senior vice-president of growth and innovation at RPA, went from working on the agency side to working as a third-party consultant, he noticed something startling: Over lunch, a client once said to me, 'Honestly, I simply don't trust any of my agencies to actually solve my marketing problems.
The five rules of successful client-agency relationships | The Drum
Building trust begins with frequent contact—when things are going well and especially when they're going south.
Once communication starts to dissolve, your trust will fade, and an effective campaign will lose its luster. Having worked on both the client and agency sides, I can tell you that relationships work best when you are transparent and working toward the same goals. After all, you both want to succeed. There's no unity When you and your agency aren't on the same page in terms of goals and methods, it becomes impossible to produce positive results. A lack of unification leads to misaligned objectives, rendering the entire campaign useless.
Before you pair up with an agency, make sure it delivers services based on models that link price, performance, and value. All activity needs to be tracked, measured, and synthesized, and all those data points need to be synchronized with your objectives. Once you and your agency get to a point in which the marketing and procurement functions are unified, everyone will reap the rewards of a fruitful partnership.
You and your agency must be operating on the same page.
The five rules of successful client-agency relationships
You can increase profit levels for each other, but agencies first must get to know you on an interpersonal basis. As a client, work with your agency point people to let them know exactly what you want out of the partnership. Educate your agency on your business, and ask the same from your agency.
Once everyone paints a clear picture that reflects each party's values, services, etc. Discussions about money get fuzzy There's no better way to kill a client-agency relationship than money issues. While I was there, we had the luxury of being supported by many different agencies.
I think we had about four agencies on the communications side alone. Then the marketing team had a kind of conglomerate agency, that was a mash up of four separate agencies that had been supporting it.
So between marketing and communications, we had a lot of agency input, and it exposed me to some of the smartest people in the industry, people that kept me on my toes. And I recognized that as a strength. However, in the type of work that I do, I find that I am more of a consultant. I am a trusted counsel. I am someone who gives professional or expert advice based on my perspective.
I did a lot of that internally at Ford. And as my time came to a close there, the walls were closing in. It was getting more and more corporate, and I missed that entrepreneurial spirit, that entrepreneurial activity. Rather than simply jumping from a Fortune 10 to a sole proprietorship, I took a year with Shift Communications. Todd Defren, Christopher Penn, some of the brightest minds, and did the same kind of thing there where I consulted with all of the VPs internally to help them with strategy and digital.
And at that point I was ready to jump off on my own. What is it about serving the client-agency relationship, serving in that consultative role, what is it about that that at the end of the day sort of provides you with the juice to take the risk?
Because as we know, whether we call it an agency or a consultancy or whatever, being out on your own is a little riskier than having a plum position at Ford, right? In one respect, yeah, you have to hunt and kill. You have to provide your own overhead, your own insurance, etc. The flexibility I think is fantastic.
Yeah, makes perfect sense. While you were at Ford and you worked with all of those agencies, identify a couple of things that they did really well and a couple of things that our listeners can do differently, can avoid some pitfalls that you saw some of the agencies fall into. Most agency folks, as you know, have lived and breathed agency life pretty much most of their career.
We had a client in the medical device community who had spent a number of years at an agency herself. To get someone who understands the trials and tribulations of being on the agency side.
And so I was very much looking forward to building this client-agency relationship with her. I should have seen the warning signs from my colleagues. They had already dealt with her, I was new to the account. She turned out to be one of the most vicious and thoughtless people. Just command and control, and barking orders, and never thanking the agency for the work they did.
Just this huge expectation and it was never enough. If anyone should understand this, it should be you.
So I brought that with me. The work that the agencies did for us on the communications team at Ford was groundbreaking. The thing that I liked about our agencies, and we had traditional PR agencies, we had grassroots, we had social, you know we had crisis obviously, was their ability not only to integrate with the team, so it felt like we were a single team, not client and agency, but their ability to think ahead of us.
The challenge with most clients is, they know the brand better than you ever will because they live, sleep, breathe and eat it. And yet we had colleagues at our agencies that were constantly pushing us. As you heard from what I described before, I like to stay on top of this stuff, so it was absolutely refreshing to have someone else pushing us rather than me having to push them.
Yeah, you know, every year we go into the field and we talk to CMOs and business owners, people who hire agencies. One of the things we hear over and over and over again in the client-agency relationship is the agencies they value are the agencies that are always bringing them fresh ideas.
Frankly that can be very hard for an agency.
Constantly coming up with new ideas. Being fresh, being creative, and being strategic. It fundamentally has to fit with the strategic objectives of the business or of the department. So when you think about the relationships you had with all of your clients, was there anything, or were there some things that were commonalities that were sources of irritation or frustration for you in working with those partners?"Managing Agency-Client Relationships" - Thoughtful China
They want a problem solved. Bring me the best idea you possibly can, and there will be plenty of money to be spread around between you. You people all need to work together.
As you thought about starting your own firm, what were some tenets or things that you knew had to be sort of cornerstones for how you wanted to work and how you wanted to provide value to your clients.
I think the first thing that I have is this experience with a Fortune 10 company. It went on and on. The type of experience that I bring to the table, I think is quite unique.
Couple that with how companies are trying to figure out digital. That combination of digital, strategic, and big corporate experience, I think is a great package. This is your first time owning your own shop. So even though they may have staff who executes and makes stuff, they probably do serve more as a consultancy with an execution arm than some of the big agencies that are still buying millions of dollars of media.
In terms of owning your own shop, what has surprised you so far in terms of the day to day life or how easy or hard it is? Where have you had to make some adjustments from your initial expectations? I figured the time was right for me, and during the summer as you well know, people are mentally and physically checked out and delaying decisions. Frankly this is planning season for as well. I detest the whole cold call sales kind of thing.
That my reputation precedes itself a bit. This allows me to get in front of large groups of people.
Explain the Client Agency Relationship in Advertising
It allows me to present my thinking, to interact with the audience. And it could be at corporations, it could be at trade and industry shows, it could be at marketing conferences, but this is allowing me to use something that I like doing as a calling card, so to speak, to help sell my services. Yeah, many agency owners feel exactly the same way you do. I bet that guy or that woman can teach me stuff on a regular basis.
I should explore that a little more. I was going to say write the book. And I want to appeal to a broader audience anyway given the lessons that I learned at Ford and what I just observe and bring to the table. My intention after school was to go to medical school. I think having an understanding of humans and how we think, and feel, and respond to those thoughts and feelings ends up serving us well. Thinking about the clients that you serve now, at the end of the day, what are you doing in the client-agency relationship that makes you sticky?
How are you making sure that they have no desire to talk to anybody else? I figured you were bringing that in spades. I think, again, one of the things is simply being in front of them. Pushing them with ideas.
You need some particular area of expertise. I come in for about 30 days to help beef up the RFP strategy, maybe work on the deck, provide some input, and give them the option of bringing me in on the pitch, because I typically do very well in person. They dangle the big talent out there, and you sign the contract, and the person is never to be seen again.
Then you get the junior woodchucks.
I come in under the umbrella of someone else managing the client, and I just need to show up with ideas. You get to do the fun part of the work then. As you have come alongside agencies in that kind of a role, what have you observed about what agencies are doing well or could do better sort of as they prep for a big pitch or an RFP? Those are the things you figure out later on. You just want to put it into use.
I get that, and I love that agencies are so enthusiastic about that kind of work, but without that kind of…I guess you could say gravitas that I bring to the role.