Chances are good that your agency partners are working hard for you. Whether you employ a traditional agency, a PR agency, a digital agency, a social media agency or some combination of all of them and more—they’re working hard—there’s no doubt.
But are you getting all that you can from that agency relationship? More important, is the investment that you’re making with your agency partners delivering the greatest returns possible for your business?
Could they be working smarter? The answer is likely yes.
Here are 3 ways to get more from your agency relationships.
- Open Up
I believe whole heartedly that it is absolutely an agency’s responsibility to ask you the right questions throughout the course of the engagement in order to be able to prescribe the right solutions, strategies, creative etc. BUT, it takes time and seasoning for an advisor to be able to nail this without any input from you. So open up! Over share, particularly at the beginning of an engagement—talk with your agency partners about the strategies and plans taking shape in channels that they don’t manage. Encourage them to make integrated recommendations. Forget the turf war potential that exists here. This is about you, the one responsible for the growth and awareness of a brand, doing your job. This is about you growing said brand. This is about you gunning for and getting that promotion. Divulge.
- Bring Your Partners Together
The days of brands working with just one agency are over. Digital has given way to a remarkable number of advertising and marketing channels each of which requires specific expertise to effectively contribute to your overall strategy (and of course there’s still offline marketing). Like it or not, we agencies recognize this. At our core, we know what we aren’t good at, we accept that (or we buy another agency that is), we’re glad you’ve hired the right partner to manage said channel we aren’t good at. We know that incorporating said channel into your overall marketing mix is right for your brand and key to achieving your objectives.
Introduce us to one another, preferably (for your sake) all at the same table at the same time. This will ensure that we all hear the same message and you only have to communicate it once. Clearly articulate during this meeting who is responsible for your brands overall marketing strategy and if that isn’t one of your agency partners, be sure to let your partners know what the current pecking order is. Who is managing the lion share of your marketing budget? They should be the lead agency. So please, make sure they’re worthy of it.
- Streamline Reporting and Establish Objectives Immediately
Immediately. Every partner will have some sort of reporting that they make available or prepare and deliver to you. If they don’t—break up with them now—you’re wasting your money. These reports are great. These reports are important. These reports likely DO NOT speak to how well the engagement is contributing to the overall marketing objectives of your brand.
That’s your job. Of course.
But it’s your agency’s job to understand how you report progress towards your overall marketing objectives to your internal stakeholders. Maybe that agency partner can’t alter the reporting they provide but knowing what you’re tracking towards and how you intend to communicate that internally will help your agency partners call out specific metrics and benchmarks and articulate how they are contributing to the objective. It sounds simple, and it is, but somehow it doesn’t always happen. Learn more about closing the loop in your digital marketing initiatives in our latest white paper.
A bonus 4th point: be direct. Close the loop on your communication with your agency partners—bear the onus of making sure they know exactly what you expect and exactly how quickly you expect them to deliver on it. The right agency partnerships can drive your business forward faster and more effectively than leveraging internal talent alone. That’s why we exist after all. But setting those relationships up to succeed is just as important as selecting the right one.