I wrote the first post in this series called How Clients Can Get the Most from their Agencies.
I shared that I walk on both sides of the street so to speak as I have worked for many great agencies in my career. I have also conducted agency searches for clients like Jenny Craig, Raley’s Supermarkets, and Jacuzzi. I hear the accolades and the frustrations from both worlds.
So here are more thoughts on how to get the most from your agency. In many ways these aren’t just agency management practices as much as people and life practices. I think that careers are different these days. Sure where you work is important on your resume or Linkedin but the way you worked is important to your reputation and the word of mouth about you. No matter where you live people always say that the advertising and marketing worlds are small worlds and social media and word of mouth makes it even smaller.
So here are some additional thoughts.
- Communicate with your agency and its people. By this I do not mean just email and texting. I mean talking and talking face to face. I have felt that Face Time and not Facebook leads to relationships. When I worked at an agency and I didn’t talk to my client at least once a day I felt something was wrong. Lunch with your key client contact at every level of the organizations on both sides at least once a month.
- Be straight with your agency. Don’t give them the political reasons for doing things, give them the truth. Confidences lead to trust and trust leads to commitment and commitment leads to hard work because you don’t want to let people down who trust in you.
- Be fair with timelines. We all know what has happened. Clients have more to do with less people with the additional responsibilities social media so they are often overwhelmed. Agency resources are often stretched because budgets have been cut by clients. You are both (fill in the blank). Many clients compress the timeline to meet their internal commitment which strains the process and often relationships. Some clients think that their agency has no choice but to meet them because they need them. When things are tough maybe. When things get better it may mean adios or get to the back of the line because fair people will come first.
- Appreciate them. Have a yearly Agency Appreciation Day where you take your team to a Hockey game (I’m Canadian), dinner, or whatever. If you have an AE who is doing an outstanding job and is living the brand send their boss’s boss an email recognizing them. You will create levels of gratitude and benefit from your action. The person will be committed to you for life. Your behavior and appreciation is a greater motivator to agency productivity than money. Clients that recognize their agencies and appreciate them get better work in my opinion.
More thoughts to come.
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In the spirit of Christmas download my free audio CD called Hank Blank’s Guide to Holiday Networking. Adjust the volume up a bit. Hope you enjoy.