I think that this is a new time in client agency relationships, which is probably the result of the fact that this is a new world all around with many agency and client friends in transition, new technology, too much news and too many things to do with too few resources. This is a time for maximizing efficiency with all your resources.
I wrote the first post in this series called How Clients Can Get the Most from their Agencies which was followed by Part Two. Not an overwhelming creative title but perhaps some perspectives in my blog can turn into knowledge if it created some learning.
My friend Joel Don summarized the first blog with a tweet saying that clients need to educate their agencies, give them clarity, and inspire them. Part two talked about the power of clear and ongoing communication, how to be fair with timelines and the motivation of appreciation. Agencies are companies but are comprised of people and in these times and throughout time everyone loves to be appreciated.
Here are some additional thoughts on how you can get the most from your advertising, PR, digital, mobile, or search agencies.
- To get good work from your agencies you have to pay them. You cannot expect to get investment thinking if you only pay agencies on a project basis. They don’t have a lot of extra staff in the backroom playing cards waiting for clients to order. Pretty simple but sometimes it is not that easy to change perceptions that agency life is a fun party life. Not true. I think that there is a legacy of agencies that it hasn’t been true for a very long time. The Mad Men era was in the 60’s and 70’s and is more about Hollywood than reality these days. Clients have created very lean agency partners with their compensation systems. I wrote a blog once called Who Has the Great Recession Changed the Most? Clients or agencies? The vast majority of agency people I know would rather be on the client side these days.
- Give them a report card. My first account was McDonald’s in Canada. During that time somebody on the client side shared with me three ways you can deal with people. You can praise them; give them a cold prickly or a lukewarm. The worst thing was to be on the receiving end if it was a lukewarm because you didn’t know where you stood. Agency report cards are good and should be a regular part of your yearly client practice akin to your planning process. On a micro level, you should have lunch with your agency at least once a month as a top line check in. More importantly you should definitely implement a yearly review or evaluation where you rate the performance of your agency on a number of key criteria measures that are important to you and the performance of your business. This should be in a business environment followed by dinner if it is going to be happy times. If not, conduct it early in the morning at your office. It will hurt but in the end it may help everybody involved in the process.
Hope these blogs lead to productive experiences.
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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.