Three Ways to Get Your Agency’s Best Work

What do you do when the honeymoon is over?

That’s a question clients and agencies find themselves asking too often. After the excitement of the RFP process or pre-launch planning is in the rear-view mirror and the account settles into execution mode, the day-to-day relationship can sometimes grow a little too mundane.

I’ve already shared some great ways that agencies can keep the relationship fresh and exciting. Todd Defren touches on a couple things clients should think about when they feel a little neglected. I wanted to extend Todd’s thoughts and focus on are a few more ways clients can help the relationship stay healthy.

Think of the Agency as Strategy Central – Don’t get stuck in the maintenance weeds. We live in a dynamic marketplace, so remember to look to your agency team for ongoing strategic counsel. It’s always good to get objective perspectives from smart people who don’t live within the walls of your company 24/7.

Share the Data – Maybe some clients have a legitimate reason for not sharing sales figures, revenue numbers and market-specific data with the agency, but I think those reasons would be limited to very few industries. I’ve heard too many stories (and experienced a few of my own) of client who guard this info with their lives and refuse to share it. This severely handicaps the agency and its ability to adjust efforts, course correct or deliver strategic ideas that could have big impacts on your business.

Manage The Agency Well – Would you pay an intern $100 or more an hour? Some clients use the agency to pawn off all menial tasks. I’m not saying the agency is above doing that work. Most agency folks are happy to help however they can. But you aren’t going to get the full value that a strategic agency partner brings if you bog them down with that level of work. If you find that there’s too much time-consuming, low-level tasks on the plate, hire an intern for the semester or a temp for a few weeks.

What would you add? How else can agencies and clients keep the working relationship in top shape? What are your tricks of the trade?

*Image by Terren.

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3 responses to “Three Ways to Get Your Agency’s Best Work

  1. Nice list. I’d add that it’s important to match personality types – this is for both agency and the company. This is easier said than done. There’s seniority, capabilities and other business decisions to consider. But, I’ve noticed that if you can match the right personalities on both the client and agency sides, you end up getting more out of the relationship. It’s not easy to make happen, but if it can happen, try to model that approach on other accounts.

    The second point I’ll add is to let your agency be creative. Don’t diminish the value of creative ideas. While your internal leadership may not understand the rationale behind a creative idea, add that perspective, and see if the idea can be advanced. Incremental success on partial ideas can lead to large success for break-out ideas. Many organizations aren’t built for it, but if you can find a way to inject creativity into a conservative culture, it can be contagious and will lead to others.

  2. I would add: Streamline the decision-making process. It is generally accepted that committees kill a good idea. So does “running it by” the water-cooler focus group, the administrative assistant, the board chair, the spouse, etc. As the agency continues to tweak in reaction to the waves of opinion, often the work loses it’s original focus and punch. Improve effectiveness by determining the decision-making process upfront, then stick to it. Granted, it takes more courage …

  3. Great additions from both of you.

    Kirk – can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen really good ideas get watered-down to crud thanks to there being too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s pretty frustrating.

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