6 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Client Agency Relationships? There’s No Training.

  1. Don Jacobson, Carpe Diem Comm

    When I first broke in as a b2b Advertising Manager, my trainers were a squad of old-school media reps who talked nuts and bolts of how the client-agency-media relationship should work if all are to prosper. Creative? Well, that one was more like a HALO drop without an altimeter-controlled chute! You’d target what you hated in an ad…and learned from studying the good work of the masters (Della Famina, Bernbach, etc.)…and prayed that the zen you worked was the zen you needed.

  2. Love the Discussion and responses, thanks.
    DOOH & OOH (digital out of home media) is whee it is today. Euope Agencies get it. Agencies in the US are still not gettig it… we all see so much spending w TV ads, huge budgets and not doing the justice w Clients spending. Why? — unless news, live sports, maybe american idol – DVR Ad Skipping is “reality”. I wish clients would simply ask 10 of their neighbors/friend and find out 80% of TV Viewers simply do NOT watch ads anymore… it all about PC Living Room today.
    So time for agencies to really roll up their sleeves – examine the source of where ads are most effective — at the stores, malls, airports, mobile triggers w hot offers, etc. – reach people when “on the go”. Reach people shopping that depend on ads, informations, offers to make buying decisions. THIS is what Agencies & Clients should be paying attention to – pure ROI.

    Any questions or comments see my LinkeIn Profile, invite me to your network. OR, contact me as a DOOH & OOH Expert anytime jvandien@immersionooh.com

  3. Grant ONeal

    Hank,
    Great post. In working with dyfunctional client/agency teams (or new client/agency teams that don’t want to become dysfunctional) I’ve found the need for a combination of joint training elements:
    – Setting objectives (many times the goals are fuzzy, measurement poor, and desired outcomes misaligned)
    – Project briefing and kick-off discipline (often clients are from Mars, agencies are from Venus)
    – Basic process management and efficiency (how do we want this project to be managed, who’s in charge, what is the approval chain, if there’s a concern or problem – how do we resolve it?)
    – Providing and receiving feedback (how to provide actionable strategic feedback, how to query and probe to get what is needed to move ahead and arrive at an agreed upon response)
    – The last mile: what does it really take within both organizations to carry a marketing program across the finish line – (Client: operationally, training marketing and sales. Agency: creative process, production support, and production execution). Very often both sides are ill-informed about the time and work involved on the “other side.”
    – The impact of inefficiency and what it really costs when the teams are not working effectively? This often shocks both parties. (Wasted time, rework, decision circles, production delays/overtime, etc.) Putting a pencil to the hard and soft costs is a great exercise to get everyone’s attention.
    – Adult communications. (How to engage, understand, disagree but resolve, find solutions, be respectful and actually perform like a team.) This is actually a fun work session.

    No new client/agency relationship ever started with the client or agency leader saying, “It’s great to be working with you. I look forward to our two teams misfiring a lot, being off strategy, bickering, wasting a lot of time and money, doing very mediocre work and generally making each other miserable, don’t you?” But it is surprising how many get to be that way.

    On the positive side, when it works well, it’s a beautiful thing!

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