I have worked with some great agencies. I have worked with some great agencies that people within my marketing teams did not get on with. And I have worked with agencies where the relationship did not work out – sometimes because of me, sometimes it was just the circumstances.
Marketing agencies are vital for you. They can make your life easier – or make it really painful. So here are a few tips to help lead to more harmonious client/agency relationships – with the key word being relationships.
Get to know each other better
Be important to your agency
Keep agencies informed
Know how to communicate with each other
Give best in class briefs
Don’t point the finger
Use your strengths
Change if you have to
1. Get To Know Each Other Better
Would you be happy to go for a drink with your agency? Would they really be happy to go for a drink with you? If you said “yes, make it happen. If “no” ask why that is and get to know each other better. Understand their technical expertise more and understand them as humans more so.
2. Be Important To Your Agency
Agencies have other clients to look after, not just you. Some people bemoan that their agencies focus on their “bigger clients, who have bigger budgets”. This is not necessarily true.
Build up good relationships with your agencies and make them want to put you first because they like and trust you. Be their friend and colleague and forget the word “supplier”. Make it win:win.
3. Keep Agencies Informed
Many marketing teams say agencies are an extension of the marketing department. This is true. But then they keep them at arm’s length.
The agency must know what your marketing goals are. And you should keep them updated of progress towards these goals – even if not relevant to them. The big picture helps them. And this includes telling them what is going on in the mortgage market right now.
4. Know How To Communicate With Each Other
Everyone has different preferences for communication. Know what works best for you and the agency. Agree how to keep each other updated – be it email, weekly calls or in-person. And stick to this.
5. Give Best In Class Briefs
The initial brief on a campaign is so important. There is a real skill in getting this right. Be clear what you want your campaign to deliver – the goals and outcomes.
Then talk this brief though. Don’t just email it across.
Give the opportunity to discuss, have questions asked and add value.
Then ask your questions to ensure the brief has been fully understood. If it isn’t…. trouble down the line will be staring you in the face.
6.Don’t Point The Finger
I have often heard people blame the agency if something goes wrong. Things do go wrong. But both parties need to have clear levels of accountability. If things are not going to plan with your marketing efforts, work together to find a solution rather than point a finger.
7. Use Your Strengths
You have strengths. So does the Agency. Make sure you are getting the best out of these – and to be honest, make sure you know what these strengths are.
8. Change if You Have To
Having a strategic and cultural fit is vital. Agencies are never “rubbish”, so if you can’t build relationships with them, for whatever the reason, find someone with whom you can do this. But before you do, make sure you have done everything possible to make it work – otherwise the problem may not go away, even if you change agency.