In the marketing world, there are many kinds of partnerships, but the most important one just may be the partnership you have with your advertising agency. Whether you outgrow your internal marketing resources or are just looking to bring more strategy to the mix, vetting the right agency is a critically important first step. But once that’s done, how will you move forward with confidence knowing that you’ll get the most from your new partner? Like everything, there can be a big difference between doing something – and doing it well.
As an agency who prides itself on the collaborative relationships we have with our clients, here are a few suggestions for bringing your agency partnership to the next level.
Start with clearly defined goals.
Your new agency partner should be excited and eager to get to work. They’ll want to help you develop or clarify a framework that sets goals…and expectations. Good agencies will lead discovery sessions with you to learn about your business, your challenges, your brand, your goals and your vision for the quarter, year and beyond. The agency should also be working closely with you to specify exactly what problems need to be solved and establish realistic and measurable objectives.
Your agency should take time becoming familiar with your industry. Give them a tour of your offices or factories. But, on their own, they should be following your company and competitors on social media. You should also expect them to read your industry’s trade publications, newsletters, and attend your industry’s major trade shows. Your agency partner should be working tirelessly to help you seek opportunities to succeed.
Keep an open line of communication.
The thing about partnerships is that they take two (or more) to really work. If the lines of communication go quiet, the work could suffer – or worse, could come to a grinding halt. Your agency should be regularly checking in with you to see how things are going. At a minimum, you should have weekly or biweekly calls with your agency to review any work or check in on progress. Routine calls and open communication allow you to share information and solve challenges quicker. The time spent with your agency should be invaluable.
In it for the long haul.
If your agency forgets about you after a major project or campaign is launched, you should think twice. Good agencies never rest in pursuit of moving the needle for you. They should be proactively providing analytics, metrics and reporting back on the key objectives that you care most about. In today’s fast-paced digital and mobile world, continuous improvement is possible on virtually a daily basis. Small tweaks and refinement can be made throughout a campaign to ensure you aren’t just hitting the KPIs you established upfront, but surpassing them. And, at the end of each campaign or project, your agency should be chomping at the bit to present what, where and how your audience engaged with your message. Your agency will be able to provide insights that can inform future strategies and opportunities. Nothing feels better than heading into the next project with sound data. Reporting, recap documents, workbooks of the deliverables and/or debriefing meetings after-the-fact can be invaluable for all parties.
At the end of the day, the agency should do everything in their power to accomplish your goals. Whether you need support selling something up the flagpole, or routing work through the legal department, small gestures speak volumes and lead to a successful partnership. Nothing makes us more proud than when our client gets the results, attention and sometimes even awards from working together. That’s what we call a win-win.