A lot of marketing agencies say they want to be your partner. It’s become a bit of a cliché. No doubt, many really mean that. It’s also code for, “We want to be so ingrained in your culture, you keep us around forever!” That’s a good thing as long as your partner is solving problems and adding to your success.
As you consider your business partners, HenkinSchultz wants to share 5 Things Your Marketing Agency Should Do For You.
1. Be the Best Part of Your Day
HS Executive Creative Director Chad Vander Lugt says it a lot and it bears repeating. “Talking to your ad agency should be the best part of your day.” We are here to work, solve, assist and yes, make your day fun. As an experienced advertising team, we know you have so much more on your plate than advertising.
Your marketing activities – big or small – are just part of your day. And when you task an agency to be your partner in them, you want enthusiasm, support and even laughter. An agency meeting or status call should not be a burden, but a joy. In business, things are stressful enough. Talking to your agency shouldn’t be.
2. Respect Your Knowledge and Experience
One of the things agencies are sometimes guilty of is walking into the room like we own the place. In other words, “we’ve been there, done that, seen it all, listen to us.” But a good agency partner should ask a lot of questions before considering any answers.
Yes, there are universal marketing challenges that aren’t particularly unique from business to business. But be wary of anyone who tells you they have all the answers immediately.
As a business, you have unique experience and insight into history. You know your customer behaviors, industry trends and your company’s evolution. That’s a valuable pool of knowledge your account exec and creative team should lean on. Certainly, a good agency should lend some outside perspective, new insights and strategy. But it should never dismiss the value of your knowledge and experience.
3. Think on Your Behalf
Your agency should not be in the business of selling you stuff. You must have this media buy. You must have a new logo. You must execute this social or digital plan. Any of these things may be eventual executions. But any good agency starts by being execution neutral. In other words, look at the big picture before suggesting any action.
Looking at the big picture means thinking on your behalf. What is a marketing problem and what is not? What can be addressed by an advertising campaign? And what is something you can address internally or operationally?
For example, you can build a campaign that prompts people to call your phone number, but if the person who answers isn’t enthusiastic about the job, you have a problem that’s not necessarily marketing related. Your agency should look at all phases of your business and think on your behalf with an open mind.
As advocates for your business, we should be ambassadors for it. But that also requires taking the view of a consumer or customer and offering insights or critique where necessary.
4. Be Brutally Transparent
Have you ever noticed how the advertising business is portrayed on television and popular culture? It’s either a highly glamorous field where magical things happen behind closed doors or the shady smoke-filled offices of “Mad Men.” It really should be neither.
With a little healthy self-reflection, it’s safe to say agencies sometimes become a little too enamored with “the process” or “our special process.” Different agencies and marketing firms approach things differently. But that should never be secretive.
It’s OK to ask “What is this line item?” “What is the status of a job?” “How many people are currently working on it?” “What outside vendors or partners are you engaging?” Your agency should be transparent, brutally so. Trust is key. And keeping trust means integrity and transparency in “the process.”
5. Hold All Parties Accountable
It may sound a little harsh to say, but a good agency should hold everyone involved accountable. Ourselves, our partners and our clients. Accountable to budget, creativity, expectations, effort and delivery. Why? Because that’s the only way to measure progress.
Accountability means stating specific goals up front. i.e. “We need more clinic visits” “We need more monthly sales of product X” “We need more enthusiasm from donors and stakeholders” Some things are easier to measure than others. But if a goal is stated and agreed upon, you now have a bar set. And that bar is one indicator of success – and of a successful relationship.
Are you considering working with an advertising agency or perhaps making a switch? We’d love to sit down and just talk. I’m sure we can find 5 more things we have in common. Contact HS today.