No matter what expertise and experience your marketing agency has, the results it produces will be dependent upon how you work together. A common misconception is that once given a brief, creative agencies need to be left alone to ‘get on with it’. In reality, outcomes are dependent upon the client/agency relationship.
The importance of the client brief
The brief needs to outline all the client wants and all they don’t. Creative agencies need to know about the client’s products, the client as a company, and what results it expects. Details about markets and competitors will help the agency to take the right first steps. A detailed and well-presented brief will form the basis of the work the agency does for its client, but results depend upon building an ongoing relationship that satisfies both partners.
Five necessary client behaviours in a client/agency relationship
1. Provide the agency with valid feedback
There will be times that market dynamics change or creative agencies produce ideas or work that doesn’t quite hit the targets the client set. When this happens it is imperative that the client is honest and tells the agency not only that the work doesn’t meet needs, but also why.
Honesty between agency and client helps to build trust, and this extends from feedback to product and market details. An agency’s executives will be well versed in their markets, and openness will help to build a properly defined, bespoke campaign.
2. Never assume the agent knows everything there is to know about their client’s business
Though great creative agencies will work closely with their clients, they can never know everything. Strategic decisions are likely to impact marketing campaigns, especially if the client expects those decisions to form an integral part of a campaign. Providing more information is always better than providing too little.
3. Have a key contact who responds
Confusion over information given often arises because of too many focal points at the client end. It is best to provide a small number of contacts as a focal point, and when discussing creative briefs and requirements to ensure that only key personnel are involved: more voices make for mixed messages. Creative types like to be left alone to get on with things, and respect that the client is likely to be busy. When the agency contacts a client it is usually because something important or urgent is required. Whole campaigns can be thrown off course because of a lack of response from the client.
4. Give creative agencies time to do the job and trust them to do it
Clients should always conduct research before hiring an agency. In other words, the agency has been hired because the client is sure it knows what it is doing. A client should trust its research and its agency, but always make sure that enough time is given for the agency to produce the goods. Campaigns can be executed by working long and late caffeine-fuelled hours. But great creativity takes a little more time: there is research for the agency to undertake, ideas to develop and discuss, and concepts to brainstorm.
5. Measure results from start to finish
Creative agencies, just like their clients, are results oriented. They want to know how well a campaign has performed. By taking a measurement of the state of play at the beginning and end of a campaign its effectiveness can be accurately assessed. By sharing this information with its agency, a client is enabling the agency to analyse and improve.
The bottom line
The best marketing results are achieved where the client and its creative agency work closely toward a common goal. Creative agencies which benefit from a deep understanding of the client business and its objectives are better placed to provide reactive campaigns and proactive inputs. This hand-in-hand approach always produces the best result, increasing the benefits to the client with an improved return on investment.
Getting the best results from your marketing team takes no more than observing these five ways of working more productively with your marketing partner.