How to get the most out of your relationship with your marketing agency
by Cindy Kremer Moen
Relationships take work: Time, energy, and effort all go into the foundation of a great partnership, whether it is personal or professional. Whether you’re already in a relationship with a marketing agency or are considering “swiping right” on a new one, here are four proven ways to get the most out of your investment.
How many weddings are planned on a first date? It’s nearly impossible to predict the outcome of a relationship the first time you meet, even if the person across from you checks all your boxes. For marketing, you should find an agency you want to stick with for the long-term.
To help you decide whether you’re ready to commit to one agency, do your due diligence:
- Meet with the executives at the agency to better understand the company’s background, philosophy, successes, longevity, and experience within your industry.
- Meet with the project manager who will be assigned to your account. You should mesh with this person since they will be your day-to-day contact.
- Speak with the agency’s current and past clients.
When you feel you have found the right match, commit for the long-term. At Edge, we ask for a six-month minimum commitment from new clients. Our experience has taught us that six months is the sweet spot for companies to start seeing real, measurable results. The average length of an Edge/client relationship is 2.5 years, and the longest is twelve years and counting!
You did your due diligence during the “get to know you” stage of the relationship and selected the best agency for your needs. Do not second-guess that decision. You should trust that the professionals you hired are going to lead you toward your company’s goals.
Your agency has decades of experience and expertise in your market; prior to working with you, they have helped hundreds of clients to meet their goals. Remember why you hired them: They have a great team of experts and their track record proves that they can deliver results.
In a personal relationship, you don’t outsource communication with your partner to your friends and family. The same should be true with your marketing agency: Your agency should provide you with a single contact, usually your project manager, to whom you can always reach out with questions and communications. On your company’s side, select a single point of contact who can gather feedback from your organization when needed, and who has the authority to make financial decisions and final approvals on work product.
At Edge, we’ve found the most successful relationships are with a senior-level professional at our client’s firm, such as a director, vice president or c-level executive. Decisions can be made more efficiently, and results appear more quickly when we work with senior-level professionals.
Communications with your agency should occur as you might expect them in a personal relationship, too. Your agency should commit to reasonable response times to emails and phone calls, and regularly scheduled status calls will help you to feel confident your projects are moving forward.
The best way to start any relationship is by being open and honest with each other, not holding back important details. I would be suspicious if a first date asked me to sign an NDA, but your marketing agency should include one as part of your contract. Your agency will not share details of your company with anyone else.
Start by sharing current and forecasted financial information, past and current sales performance, past marketing materials and experiences, and corporate goals. If your reputation has taken a recent hit, let the agency know. All this information is important for your agency to help you create a successful path forward.
At Edge, the relationships that have lasted the shortest length of time are the ones in which the firms’ executives held back important information, like leads were down to the point of crisis, owners wanted to find buyers for their companies, or their product was losing traction because it wasn’t keeping up with current technologies and best practices.
You will gain the best results from your agency when your partnership is built on openness and honesty.
At Edge, we feel so strongly about these pillars of a good relationship that new clients will find them in our proposals; and, while you do not need to send roses to your marketing agency (I actually prefer peonies), you do need to cultivate that relationship to get the best return out of your investment. Be all-in, communicate frequently, trust, and commit for the long-term to enjoy a long and fruitful partnership with your marketing agency.
About the Author
Cindy Kremer Moen has helped Edge Marketing clients with strategies and tactics to meet their goals since 2006. She and her husband have two college-age boys and are happy for the return of DII football, in-person education and travel without restrictions.