How to Improve Your Relationship with Your Marketing Agency
Is your relationship with your marketing agency as healthy as it could be? Like every relationship, the partnership between a business and its marketing agency must be respected and nurtured to keep it strong and allow it to grow.
You should feel confident that your marketing agency understands your company and your industry, has a strong grasp of your goals, and a clear vision to support you in accomplishing them.
If you think your relationship with your agency needs improvement, take a look at your processes and policies and make sure you’re following these guidelines.
- Set clear goals and expectations. Agreeing up front about what you expect to get out of the relationship is an excellent way to avoid miscommunication, disappointment, and unwelcome surprises down the road. In addition to concrete goals, make sure your agency understands how your company works internally, who their points of contact are, how often you want to be updated, and what style of communication you prefer.
- Work as partners. Trust is an essential component of a successful relationship, and that trust should go both ways. You want a marketing agency you can trust (if you don’t trust your marketing agency, you should probably get a different marketing agency), but you also want your marketing agency to be able to trust you. Be open about your goals, the workings of your business, and any challenges you’re experiencing. The more complete and accurate the information your agency has about your business, the more effective it can be at helping you overcome challenges and meet your goals.
- Be realistic. Once an agency has a good understanding of your business and goals, they should be able to give you a good idea of what they are able to accomplish within your time and budget limits. It’s fine to have lofty goals, but don’t set your marketing agency up for failure with unrealistic expectations.
- Pay attention to agency communications. Marketing has a lot of moving parts, and a good agency will spend a lot of time providing emails or other communications with detailed updates that include explanations of their processes, where they are in the project, what they need from you, and what the next steps are. Reviewing these communications thoroughly will help keep the project on track and prevent costly miscommunications down the line.
- Meet your deadlines. To keep things running smoothly, agree on a concrete timeline for deliverables and approvals for each marketing initiative before the start of the project. Make sure the deadlines for each item are reasonable, and do your best to provide feedback and approvals according to the schedule. If you know that your team will not be able to meet a deadline, let the agency know, provide a new date, and ask that the project timeline be adjusted accordingly.
- Be clear about what you want. Your agency wants you, the client, to be happy, but it’s difficult to meet that goal when directions and feedback are too general. Comments like: “I just don’t like it,” “it’s not what I was expecting,” or “I’ll know it when I see it” don’t really tell the agency how to fix an issue or fulfill your expectations. Try to be as specific as possible in your feedback. If you’re talking about results, provide concrete goals; if design is the issue, try to articulate exactly what you want (and what you don’t), preferably with examples.
- Listen to your agency. If you’ve hired a team of marketing experts, don’t make the mistake of not listening to the very people you are paying to give you their professional advice. You don’t have to agree with everything they say—it’s your business, after all—but any recommendations they have are backed by experience and driven by their desire for your success, so don’t dismiss them without follow-up questions and careful consideration.
- Speak up about problems. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your digital marketing agency’s performance, don’t remain silent, let them know! Ignoring problems rarely makes them go away, and it’s easy for small problems to become big ones if they’re not addressed. That’s not to say that every small error or misstep deserves an angry phone call or email, but if there is a significant or ongoing problem, or a process or approach that’s not working for you, ask to set up a time to discuss it calmly and work together toward reaching a solution.