Throughout our 30 years in business, Dana has had many clients and, therefore, many relationships. We thought it might be fun to take a look at the successful (and unsuccessful) relationships we’ve forged over the years and identify the common threads. In doing so, we’ve compiled a useful—though not exhaustive—list of ways to start building a strong relationship with your agency.
Recognize that creative is a subjective art.
Creative is one of the grayer areas in a client/agency relationship. Some creative decisions are subjective (“I like the second headline option best”), but others are based on things like past successes, best practices and rules for design and copywriting. So before you dictate creative changes to an agency, it is important to have an open-minded discussion about the “why” behind their decisions. You might be surprised to uncover the reasoning behind each element of an ad, email, brochure and so on.
Ask our opinion.
The best relationships we’ve had are the ones in which our clients asked our opinion–and not just about what we’re doing for them, but also about their other marketing activities. It’s good for brand consistency. And, if your agency specializes in a specific industry, they will bring a wealth of their own experience to the equation. You certainly don’t have to take the advice, but the more great thought that goes into any marketing activity, the better it will be.
Use our brainpower.
Do marketing planning with your agency. You’d be surprised how many clients develop a marketing plan and then hand it over to the agency to execute. Often these plans are developed entirely by the Director of Marketing and in a very tight time frame. Incorporating the agency into the planning process will alleviate some stress and add a wealth of knowledge. And while you might find this hard to believe, we actually prefer to implement a plan that we buy into over one that we had nothing to do with—especially if you’re going to hold us accountable for the results.
Communicate and measure.
Clearly communicate your sales and marketing goals to your agency. As a team, figure out the best ways to measure the results of your marketing efforts. Analyze the results together to improve your marketing going forward. If you don’t care about the results of your marketing, chances are that your agency will have a hard time caring too.
Respect—it’s a two-way street.
Agencies do their best work for clients who respect their expertise, their time (we can only do so many “rush” ads) and the budget. If you don’t respect us, fake it. Trust me, we’ll do better work if we don’t feel like just another vendor.
While there are many other ways to build an effective relationship with your agency, we’ve found that the clients that have exhibited those listed above are the ones for whom we’ve garnered the most successes—and the most fun (not a coincidence).