How Mutual Trust Between Marketers and Agencies Should be Build
More agencies today complain of having to deal with more decision-makers on the client-side. ‘These increased points of contact slow down the decision-making process and increase frustration. Agency executives also complain of being treated as commodities with overemphasis on the bottom-line.’
Marketers on the other hand grumble about the impact of high turnover within agencies, understaffed and inexperienced personnel on the agency team, creative arrogance, a lack of interest/understanding of the client’s business, a lack of strategic and creative thinking and/or linkage and loose attention to budgets.
These stresses put more pressure on the client-agency relationships and how both parties navigate forward inevitably will impact every aspect of the projects they work on together.
A substantial level of collaboration from both parties is absolutely crucial to the effective and sustainable success of a campaign or communication plan. So how do we ensure partnership and teamwork creates synergy and delivers the best result for all parties concerned?
There are many ways to simply improve potential issues and we’d like to offer the following as suggestions.
Milestone pretty much like the R.E.S.P.E.C.T model:
R for ‘Respect’
Once a pitch is won, all parties need to do everything possible to make sure everyone sees each other as a team. Create an environment of friendship and teamwork that will get the best out of everyone on board. Be kind in your words and actions. Establish clear paths for integration. Find time also to see the other as a person and not just a professional, and get to know each other well. And most importantly, appreciate each other efforts and find time to thank and recognize the efforts on each side of the table.
E for ‘Effective Briefs’
Failure to define the precise purpose of projects and communication campaigns can doom the creative process from the very beginning. Both parties need to be clear about what is required, provide the critical information necessary to complete the task in an agreeable manner and motivate the people to do their best. Once the brief is confirmed, have a well-defined Statement of Work which is easy to understand, simple to administer and flexible enough to accommodate possible changes in the future.
S for ‘Sharing’
Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we’ve created a global community that has rediscovered its love of sharing – from pictures and stories to files and projects. The Internet we have built reflects our human need to be social and connect with one other’. Sharing challenges, knowledge, skills and experience makes our solutions less complicated and delivers better value to our customers/consumers, resulting in new, innovative ways to create profit and increase value in a globally connected society that loves to share.
P for ‘Partnership’
Smart agencies and clients understand that a strong partnership will produce the best work that leads to better business results. They also understand that, to build such a strong relationship, all lines of communication must be open and honest. Feedback and honesty in an environment where client-agency differences and lines are dissolved goes a long way in exponentially reaching a unified goal.
E for ‘Establish Expectations’
Clearly defined, unambiguous goals are key to success. Clients need to help agencies immerse in the business challenge quickly and set regular assessments and agree evaluations of progress. Metrics need to be developed together and accountabilities clear. Meeting expectations is a cause for celebrations – but it needs planning for.
C for ‘Consensus on Measuring Success’
Both agencies and marketers need to find a meaningful way to measure, judge and compensate creative ideas, and both parties must have a mutually agreed-upon definition of what success means to each. Necessary metrics should be developed to evaluate the performance of the campaigns and increase accountability of the results. Set clear expectations on scope and share responsibility for the end result. As well, a fair remuneration system must be built that aligns the agency’s aims with the client’s needs and priorities.
T for ‘Trust’
Making information accessible and sharing it freely is essential in building trust between the agency and the client. The expectations need to be transparent and both sides must have a clear idea of what the other party expects from them. When there is no consistency in expectations, trust will erode and blame games can begin. Avoid at all costs.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T simply follows the general principle of holism, summarized by Henry Ford himself: ‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’
All in all, the best projects and marketing campaigns are created and executed when client and agency are aligned, and when they do, they fall into the ‘flow’ – the ‘zone’ – where both parties come together as one team and are fully immersed in energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. The result of which is magic.
Give Milestone Integrated Marketing Solutions a buzz to find something that suits your business and feel free to contact us. We’d be delighted to discuss anything in detail with you.