This week’s post is all about confronting an uncomfortable truth: that your agency isn’t always to blame for deficiencies in the relationship.

It’s easy to point to a declining metric here or a branding hiccup there and immediately hit the trail toward something new, but is an agency switch always the answer?

We’re in the business of helping marketers find the perfect agency fit for their needs, but once that connection is made, our hope is that the relationship is fruitful for the long-term.

We’ve helped build relationships that have been going strong for years, and we see that as a point of pride.

There will always be situations that call for an agency switch, but until then, here’s a few things you can do to be a better client and ultimately create a better relationship with your agency.

 

  1. Set the tone for two-way communication

No agency relationship thrives on a one-way line of communication.

First, make the most of your chances to provide feedback; be candid when asked for input on agency work – if something is off-brand, off-message, or just off the rails, let them know. If it exceeds your expectations, let them know.

Ultimately, you’re the client, which means you’re in the driver seat.

On the flipside, though, remember that you hired the agency for a reason: encourage bold thinking by being receptive and responsive to new ideas and input on your marketing.

We’ve talked about it before, but being too overbearing as a client can lead to stale thinking and projects that are simply more of the same.

  1. Create alignment

As a marketer, you know how easy it is to get tunnel vision on your own ideas for your brand’s success, but it’s important to take a step back and proactively ensure that your partners are on the same page.

Whether it’s reporting expectations, prioritization of KPIs, or project timelines, the bad news is that even the smallest details can create big misalignment down the road — potentially costing you time, money, and customers.

The good news, however, is that a well-aligned relationship does just the opposite: it runs like an efficient, well-oiled machine that leads to quicker turnaround and work that has both parties celebrating a win.

Make sure that your agency shares your idea of what the road ahead looks like: you’ll be glad you did.

  1. Treat your marketing partner…like a partner

I know it sounds simple, but often we’ve seen agencies and clients approaching a project like tug-o-war, with each fighting tooth and nail to get their way on a project.

Remember that both sides of the table are striving toward the same objectives (if not, see #2!). Encourage ideas that fit in with your vision, and work with the agency to understand those that don’t.

At the end of the day, a contentious relationship will rarely yield the results either party wants, while a cooperative mindset can drive the project to new heights.

Of course, the best agency relationships are built from the ground up, with an agency that brings ideas to the table, shares your vision of success, and views the partnership as just that – a partnership.

If you’re looking for an agency to be a long-term partner for your brand, give us a call (513-559-3101) or shoot us an email (msneider@rswagencysearch.com).