Having a transactional relationship with an agency can be a good thing for some agencies and some marketers.

The agency wins because there’s a steady stream of new projects that the client needs completed. Client wins because they’re hopefully not only getting good work, but also doing it more efficiently by using an agency built for this kind of work.

But what happens when that work slows – like we’re seeing among many agencies – where client pressures on their business are forcing a slowdown in marketing spend?

What shouldn’t happen is the agency shouldn’t just roll up its tent and wait for the phone to ring.

If your agency is worth its weight, they should recognize the situation and turn from tactician to strategic partner.

You have a business to run. Just because marketing budgets have been cut doesn’t mean everything needs to stop.

Having a good strategic partner in your agency, regardless of the type of agency you’re working with, is central to a strong, long-lasting relationship.

One of the top reasons why most marketers look for new agencies is because they aren’t happy with strategy or thinking. We have asked this question below in our surveys among agencies and marketers for 16 of our 18 years in business and we consistently see the same results.

You as a marketer might not be the kind of person that opens up the tent and lets the agency in to contribute to the business in a strategic way.

If you aren’t, give it a try. Let them in and see what they can contribute.

Your agency likely has seen a lot and done a lot across a range of clients like you and a whole host that aren’t like you. Both of those experiences can be very meaningful and helpful to the on-going value of your business.

And then there’s the flip side.

If you want your agency to help and they are like the agencies that cause marketers to search for a new agency – where they don’t step up and they do roll up their tent and give you nothing, now might be the time to look.

Here is a short post I wrote about finding a better strategic partner in an agency.  Hope it helps!