You’ve set out what you want to achieve with your marketing campaign, you’ve picked an agency that ticks all the boxes, and you’ve got the making of a strategy in your head. In short, you’re ready for the next step – making it all happen.
But, getting the best results out of your agency isn’t just about barking orders and letting them get on with it. Nor is it about handholding. The best results are borne from working in partnership; where client and agency can work together to achieve optimal results. Think about some of the most successful names in any industry: Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google); Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple); Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream); Hall & Oates (life-affirming food for the soul): all groundbreaking; all partnerships.
So how do you work with a partnership marketing agency? Here are our tips, based on some very successful working relationships with our own clients.
Know what you’re aiming for
Set out at the outset how you want to track success. Your KPIs don’t have to be 100% set in stone, but you should have a picture of what success looks like in your head. That way you can clearly articulate what milestones you want to reach and your agency can work out how to do that. Without KPIs you’re swinging in the dark. And don’t forget, without clear goals in place from the outset you will not be able to measure the ROI of your content strategy.
Keep your briefs clean
You can work together to formalise what you want to achieve, but when it comes down to creation, make sure you’ve supplied a brief that is clear and clean. We shared our three steps to achieving a clear, workable brief in a previous blog. There really is no such thing as being too prescriptive. You don’t want any surprises coming your way; nor does the agency want to spend time on work that you won’t like or use.
Be open to ideas
As the client, you call the shots. It’s your campaign and it’s your end goal you’re both working to achieve. But, you have to be open to ideas. The best client-agency partnerships are those that work like the name suggests: in partnership. Bouncing concepts off of each other and making it clear that there is some wiggle room for ideas helps the creative process. You’ll still have the final say, but the space to spin is good for both the agency and you, in order to get your juices flowing.
Align your diaries
You’ll have to remember that, although you are calling the shots, you are still working with a business that has other clients. To work together you have to make sure you plan as far in the future as you can. You can pick up the phone any time of day and reach them, sure, but planning set meetings in advance guarantees you’ll be more productive by allowing you both time to plan an agenda and prioritise key action points.
Use this structured and planned approach to everything you do, too. How you brief in work (do you have sole authority on this?), how will you be sharing information, how regularly will you be tracking progress? By deciding and clarifying these things from the outset, you’ve already given yourself a head start to success.
Have you been working with a partnership agency? What have you found to be the path to success?