Whether you are redesigning a website, developing event collateral, or implementing a PR program, an outside agency can be your most valuable resource. However, it’s critical that you, as the client, guide us on the path to success and stay involved so that your agency gets the direction needed to really shine, and ensure you get the results you want. Here are some tips to maximize your agency relationship.
#1: Remember You’re Working with People
First and foremost, remember that you’re working with people. We’ve engaged with clients that obviously had little respect for the individuals working on their campaigns, and I can tell you that nothing good comes from it.
There are always situations where lighting a fire is a good thing. However, the vast majority of the time you want the project manager and team to genuinely care about you and your organization.If that’s the case, creativity and passion will happen naturally and campaigns will produce a higher caliber of results. I like to think all of our clients are equal, but it would be impossible to say that we don’t push our team and sacrifice our time more for clients we like to collaborate with.
As the client, remember that you hired the agency for a reason: take the time to trust our judgment. Likewise, and from the other side, your involvement is crucial. We don’t know everything about your products and organization, and your experience, connections, and direction are critical to our shared success.
#3: Chemistry is Key
Marketing/public relations should be fun. The environment in which we do business is always changing and this is the chance to try new things, get new ideas, and do things that may move the needle. So be sure to employ an agency with people you enjoy working with. Remember, you’re essentially looking for the agency to become an extension of your team. Over the years, we’ve had many clients turn into great friends who we love laughing with during our conference calls and who have shared the real ups and downs of their businesses with us. This makes the hard work we all do so much more fulfilling.
#4: Be Clear
Efficiency is all about clear communication. To reduce confusion, frustrations and delay, have one main contact for the agency. Facilitating consistent, effective communication will aid in strengthening the bond between the client and agency. Companies are more likely to meet budget and time restrictions by providing a concise point-of-view, and allow us to provide results within budget and on time.
#5: Keep an Open Mind
Strive to remain flexible and receptive to new ideas. Be willing to take risks, occasionally calculated ones. Even areas outside of marketing, such as product development, can sometimes benefit from fielding our advice.
Above all, trust your agency’s judgment, expertise and point-of-view. And don’t be afraid to voice any special needs and concerns. You and your agency have the same goal in mind, your success. If there’s something impeding that, or anything that can be done better, bring it up. Finally, remember that agencies are in the business of communication, so there is no such thing as over-communicating with us.