Good agencies attract good clients, and good clients create great agencies.
OK, this may sound a bit odd or even self-serving, but we have discovered through the years that the best clients are the ones who consider us a partner and collaborate with us and trust our experience to guide them on marketing objectives and strategies. We follow an industry peer named Dave Baker, and he identified key traits that make up good marketing clients and explained why these traits are important. We found a lot of what he said to be right on the money. If you’re a client looking for an agency or currently working with one, we encourage you to read the four examples below and evaluate your current relationship to see how it measures up. If you find that you are not the client described below, you could be partnering with the wrong agency—because the right agency can facilitate the right client partnership and help you achieve better marketing results.
Good clients know good work is an investment.
Rather than saying to an agency, “We think this is what we want. What will it cost?,” try to connect with an agency you trust enough to talk specifics. A client who feels they have to speak vaguely typically doesn’t trust their marketing company or may be trying to price shop instead of directly discussing the budget they need to fit.
In a good client/agency partnership, the conversation will normally start like this: “We have set aside $50,000 for this initiative. What could you do with that to help us achieve our main objectives?” This kind of transparency represents a solid foundation for a collaborative partnership, one where both the agency and the client respect and trust each other so that they are better able to work together to achieve the stated goals.
Good clients know good work takes time.
A total brand repositioning is going to take longer than two months, if it is done correctly. As a good client, you should be eager to be part of the process and learn as much as you can about the positioning or brand exercise. Your contributions to the process are incredibly valuable. Because you are part of the whole process, you see things unfold and reveal themselves over time, and it is easier to be patient knowing that the result will be better because of the collaborative time and care invested.
At times, you will still have projects that creep up out of nowhere and require immediate attention from your agency, and it is important to always acknowledge the marketing firm’s hard work and dedication through these quicker turnarounds. To get the best result, keep in touch with any information or materials your agency needs to meet tight deadlines with quality work. Working together in this way and acknowledging each other’s support and cooperation ensures that no one will take the other party for granted, and more can be accomplished in a shorter period of time.
Good clients know there are no such things as guarantees.
Now matter how in-depth their research, experience, or creative acumen, nothing can be guaranteed from your marketing agency. Purchasing decisions rely on human beings, and the human mind can often be unpredictable. The important thing here is to make sure your agency evaluates the effectiveness of each campaign and makes changes where necessary to generate an increasingly better response from your marketing materials. Unpredictable responses from emotions, personal history, or other unforeseen things can make even the most susceptible consumer resilient to your best advertising. In the end, it comes down to sound judgment combined with known logic, a bit of trial and error, and good communication.
Good clients want you to succeed so you can be around for the long term.
If you’ve created a great partnership with your marketing agency, their success is your success as well, and you should feel comfortable highly recommending them to other organizations. When considering your competition, you might view your agency as your “secret weapon” or a “nuclear option” you use when you want to truly blow them away. Loyalty, commitment, and trust should be reciprocal, and you should feel at ease knowing that your marketing agency will work with you to take care of all of your needs. Having them on your side should ensure a little less stress as you tackle work projects each day.
Just as a good marketing company should provide you with great high-level thinking, you can do the same for them as well. The best results come from creative collaboration. You may get to understand their company’s operations as well as they understand yours, and even know when they have underestimated the amount of time a project might take and let them know that their estimate is too low. That’s right—too low. You might suggest something like, “Are you sure you have accounted for enough time to complete this? I don’t want you to feel too rushed. I want to make sure we get this off the ground and running. Why don’t we look at how many hours we have put in after getting halfway or three-quarters of the way through this?” Just as a good client recognizes good business and what projects deserve more time, a good agency never pads their time. If they do, these conversations never have an opportunity to take place, and a truly transparent relationship can never be formed.
In the long run, as a committed client, you will benefit from a committed agency relationship, and vice versa. Your marketing agency will want to see you achieve success—you pay them to help you with this, and your success translates to theirs as well. In turn, you should want to see your marketing company grow so they can become a greater resource for you. It all works hand in hand, but it starts and ends with an extension of both hands, offering trust and commitment.