March 25, 2014 | By:

Before We Get Started…

You’ve never worked with an agency before, but you’ve heard… things about the experience. A few of your colleagues describe the experience as quite positive and having a strong ROI. You’ve probably also heard lukewarm feelings about the experience. I’m also willing to bet that you’ve heard horror stories from a few of your colleagues. This is the nature of the beast. Hilariously, I’m willing to bet that there’s some overlap in these categories of people and the agencies they’ve worked with. One person will give Agency X a rave review, whereas a completely different person swears that Agency X is run by a meth-addled Chimpanzee who watches “Saw” with the volume down, providing his own dialogue in Chimp-scream. See, it’s not that Agency X is incompetent, nor is the client an awful hellspawned demon. The reality of the situation is that most agency relationships that end poorly are due to misconceptions and poor communication on both sides of the equation. What can fix this? Knowledge! Let’s go through a few simple things that can make your relationship with your agency the most smooth and seamless partnership possible.

1. Know What You’re Looking For
When you’re looking for an agency, what specifically do you need? Are you looking for a trusted partner who will know and understand the intricacies of your brand and can act with minimal supervision or are you looking for a team of designers to create advertisements as directed? Before you even start to look for an agency, sit down with your marketing team and have a discussion about why you’re looking for an agency. What is the core of this relationship going to be? How often do you want to be communicating with the agency? Are you looking to do a trial run of a few small projects to see if you trust their work or are you in a situation where you have to find a valued partner ASAP? Whatever it is, make sure you take down your criteria and stick to it. Be sure to ask the right questions of the agency like:

• What constitutes a perfect client for you?
• What is your longest client relationship?
• May we call some of your current clients?
• How much input do you expect or want on creative from the client side?

2. Define The Relationship
Once you’ve narrowed the field down to a solid final contender, don’t just scan the proposal. The proposal is the most defining moment in your relationship with your agency as it outlines the nature of your relationship with your agency. Read it carefully and raise concerns where you have them. Most of the time, agencies outline their engagements to what they’ve heard in conversations with potential clients, but sometimes things are lost in translation. Make sure that the proposal outlines the exact relationship you’re looking for and that the agency, and especially your account manager, understand what you require from them before kicking off.

3. All relationships have issues, talk about them as soon as they arise.
Do not let any little thing slip. If there’s something you’re not satisfied with in the first draft of an ad, video, blog, social post, or website comp, be sure you raise your hand. The dirty little secret about advertising is that we all want to do the BEST work for you. We want you to be thrilled with the work that we do, so if you see something that you think may be fixed in later drafts but don’t say anything, we’ll assume you like it and keep moving forward. We need to know what you love and what you hate so we can do better work for you moving forward. After a few projects, we’ll start to think more like you and begin to surprise you.

We’d love to talk with you more about how to create the perfect client-agency partnership. Please, feel free to give me a call. Even if it’s just to vent your frustrations about past agencies. We’re pretty great about talking you off the ledge and quelling your frustrations. Let us show you what a great agency partnership can be.

*gets down on one knee*

Will you be my partner?

To discuss this entry, e-mail Wes Davis at wes@ilfusion.com or call 888-420-5115 x101.

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