We all know that relationships take work. They take honesty, patience, and commitment. Well, the professional relationship between a client and its agency is no different.
From our experience, the best client-agency relationships usually have a strong foundation, clear boundaries, mutual respect, and plenty of communication.
Why should you care about having a great relationship with your agency? A few reasons: things generally move faster, feedback is more constructive, and pivots are smoother. All of this usually adds up to better results for everyone.
Meet the 5 types of clients that we love working with and learn about what each client does to set their business up for an enjoyable agency experience.
1. Giving Garth: Garth leaves nothing to guesswork. He sends his agency anything and everything that he thinks might be relevant to their success.
Garth knows that the more his agency has to work with, the better job they'll do. To help his agency out, Garth likes sharing his:
- Brand style guide.
- Branded images.
- Logos (in all formats and in high resolution).
- Target audience.
- Typical customer journey.
2. Eager Ellen: Ellen sees great value in building a relationship with a strong foundation. She shows up at her onboarding meeting with her team’s key players. She has a list of questions and ideas.
Ellen rocks because she sets everyone up for a quick pivot when things change in the future (e.g. employee turnover, PR crisis, re-brand). To make the most out of her onboarding experience, Ellen likes to:
- Confirm her company's main point of contact.
- Establish a timeline.
- Give examples of successful/unsuccessful campaigns from the past.
3. Open-minded Olivia. Olivia acknowledges her agency’s expertise. She knows that the agency is there to offer a fresh and objective perspective—that’s why they were hired in the first place, right?
Note that it’s hard to come by an Olivia; a recent survey found that clients are trusting their agencies less and less over time. To manage her trust, Olivia likes to:
- Remind herself that her company shares similar values with the agency (because that should be the case).
- Give the agency quick and honest feedback (because the faster she shares her concerns, the faster things can be fixed).
4. Time-saver Tod. Tod hates wasting time. He understands that an agency serves more than one brand (well, you'd hope), so he makes sure that the content he sends to his agency is organized and ready to go. To save time, Tod likes to:
- Label his files clearly (e.g. include his company’s name, mark documents as final).
- Brief his team before they meet with the agency to avoid any redundant questions.
5. Patient Pam. Pam knows that results take time. She recognizes that agencies have to show the ROI of their client’s investment, so she doesn't sweat it when improvements aren't immediate.
As explained by RTOWN’s social expert Kalina, “it takes a minimum of 3 months to see quantifiable results on social media—that’s why quarterly reviews are so important.” To avoid getting antsy, Pam likes to:
- Schedule monthly calls with her agency to stay informed.
- Do yoga. Yoga helps most things.
It's not just the client's responsibility to make sure things go well. Here are a few things that all agencies can do to foster honest and productive working relationships with their clients:
- 1. Own up to mistakes.
- 2. Be honest about when projects are out of scope.
- 3. Be respectful of agreed-upon budgets.
Don't have an agency yet, but thinking about it?
1. Tell us what you need help with here. Maybe we'd have some serious client-agency chemistry—just sayin'...
2. Sign up for our webinar on the difference between outsourcing your business' marketing to an agency vs. keeping it in-house.