Though somewhat counterintuitive, one of the most challenging aspects of working with a marketing agency is telling them exactly what you want. That’s why it’s so important to put some structure around the working relationship with your agency. Here are some simple ways to make sure that you, the client, get what you need, and that the agency works effectively for you. Of course, this structure benefits the agency as well! If you follow the 5 steps below, you are setting up your agency relationship for success.
1. Educate the Agency
While it may seem daunting to share what you know about your business with your agency, the time investment will pay off again and again. Even long-term agency relationships benefit from any new insights you have gained or your perspective on the impact of industry trends on your products or services. It is important for the agency to be up to speed on your business results and goals. If the agency relationship is new, share past successes and misfires. The more your agency team knows, the better they can help you. Often, the knowledge that you share will help your account team provide exactly what you need to succeed. Excellent strategies come from an excellent situation analysis that covers your business and the industry. Also share how you like to work with your agency partners: emails, daily phone calls, once-a-week status meetings etc. Tell your agency partners your definition of successful communication.
2. Formalize What You are Looking For with a Creative Brief
Always complete a comprehensive Creative Brief before starting a new project. No matter how small the project, it is very important to tell the agency what you are trying to accomplish. Just the exercise of completing the Brief can help you create a realistic scope, clarify your needs, explain the goals and illuminate any challenges of the project. All of these items and more can then be addressed to make sure the work happens effectively and efficiently.
When you feel as though you do not have time to complete a Brief, have a call with your account person and do the Brief verbally. A good agency will fill out the Creative Brief for you and send it back for approval. You can save yourself countless hours of “redo’s” by having a good Creative Brief. It becomes the document that helps you avoid surprises and measure how well the agency delivered on the project. Contact Blu Sky Creative for a complimentary copy of our creative brief.
3. Provide (Lots of) Honest Feedback
It is critically important to provide constructive feedback to the agency on both the process and the work generated. There is no such thing as too much constructive feedback, especially for new relationships. Feedback should include what is going right as well as what needs improvement. Set up a specific time each week or month for feedback so that it becomes a routine part of your working process. For specific projects, it is very important that any content discussions focus on what was in the Creative Brief. No one likes surprise issues; but if you are communicating frequently, surprises should be kept to a minimum. Open, honest discussion gives both the client and agency the opportunity to do the best work possible.
4. Switch Up Leading and Receiving
You hired your agency for their expertise. Make sure that you give them the opportunity to listen to you, demonstrate their knowledge, educate you, and do the work you have requested. After you set the agency team up for success by sharing background knowledge, complete a great Creative Brief, and communicate freely; it is time to let them work their magic to develop the logo, ad, social content, video, website or other marketing tool you requested. Client-Agency Partnerships develop best by helping each other succeed with a mix of give and take, listening and talking, and mutual respect.
5. Repeat to Grow, Together
If you tell the agency what you know, what you want, what you like/dislike and switch it up by allowing them to do the same; you will create a productive partnership. Continuous improvement principles apply, for you can always get better at what you do. The more you practice these 5 steps, the more improvement you will make not only in your agency relationship, but in your marketing process and content. Your agency can be an extension of your marketing team, a hired marketing expert, an impartial sounding board, a strategy consultant, a media liaison, a social content writer or a combination of any and all of these roles. Working well together will maximize growth opportunities for both you and your agency.
Use these tips to help you achieve your marketing relationship goals. Contact Blu Sky today for more information.