There’s a lot of noise in the industry press on the various pain points of the client agency relationship.
In my years as both client and agency, I’ve experienced some brilliant working partnerships and some, that no matter how hard I tried, failed.
My brilliant first Manager (thank you Sue Todd @ Magnetic) spent a lot of time coaching us on how to get the best from our agency partners.
Ultimately, it all comes down to clarity and communication.
A written brief seems so obvious it is almost embarrassing stating it, but I am constantly surprised at how many campaign requests come without a brief.
How is anyone supposed to know what needs to be achieved and what success looks like without stating clear objectives, that are clearly aligned to the overall marketing and business plan. If Clients aren’t prioritising KPIs up front, agencies are asked to set their own. What other industry would do this?
Agencies scramble around for insights on audience and whilst also trying to get a 101 on the product or service they’re tasked with promoting. Yet there’s usually an entire business of sales and product specialists only one degree of separation away. But for whatever reason, the dots are not connected and agencies miss the point, hours of resource wasted trying to identify usp’s when I’m pretty certain, that time could have been used better, if client and agency sat down together.
So, whether it is a pitch request or managing and maintaining a ongoing relationship – here’s my request to clients:
Please make time to identify, document and share business goals and over-all marketing plans so that agencies can understand the bigger picture.
Give agencies access to the front line sales teams, the product specialists, the customer service managers – this is where the gold is often found.
Invest time upfront to properly onboard agencies in order to save hours wasted on amends and rebriefs and to create a much better working relationship.
Most importantly please, please help Agencies to deliver the best work they can by being clear, truthful and fair when it comes to budget and delivery timings.
Let’s all make sure that whatever’s committed to the Page is as good as it possibly can be.