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An Advertising Agency is a Lot Like a Relationship

By February 13, 2020In Other News
An Advertising Agency is a Lot Like a Relationship

If you dig into the history of Valentine’s Day, you’ll get a lot of different takes on its origin: A Roman festival, an execution, martyrdom, cupids and Hallmark conspiracies. So for the sake of clarity, let’s just stick to how we mostly know it.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate relationships. It’s an opportunity to give someone you care about a grand or thoughtful gesture. And it got us to thinking about how marketing and working with an advertising agency is a lot like being in a relationship.

The Introduction and the Pursuit of Marketing Agencies

Every relationship begins with an introduction of some kind. Perhaps you introduce yourself. A friend introduces you. Or today, an app introduces you. Any which way, every relationship starts somewhere.

For marketing agencies, and new business development especially, we’re always asking for the introduction. Can we take you to lunch? Can we meet with your marketing director? Can we sit down and talk? You could call that the pursuit: pursuing business and pursuing great work.

Every advertising agency thinks they’re great in their own way — and that business should come running to them. But the truth is introductions are very important, even if there isn’t immediate business to be done.

For example, HS is always willing to take a meeting with aspiring graphic artists or students interested in digital. Why? Just because we may not have an opening now, doesn’t mean we don’t want to be aware of the talent that’s out there later.

Plus, taking an introduction is just a courteous thing to do. We’ve met some of our greatest clients, vendors and other partners through simple introductions.

Committing to the Best Marketing Agency Relationship

It sounds kind of funny to say. But every romantic relationship, at some point, has a similar conversation. Are we committed to being together? How are you feeling about this? What’s our plan moving ahead? These can be uncomfortable conversations. Because it’s sometimes easier to concentrate on the lighter, fun things.

But defining the relationship is an important step. In the advertising business, they still sometimes call it ‘Agency of Record’ which used to be the equivalent of an engagement announcement.

If you were declared the Agency of Record by Pepsi. That was Pepsi’s way of saying “I love you and I’m committed to doing all my advertising through you.”

Today, this is less common, as advertising has evolved. Very large companies will often date a lot of people. Why? Because they need specialization in:

    • Email Marketing
    • Social Media Marketing
    • Content Marketing/Inbound Marketing
    • Digital Advertising
    • eCommerce

At HS, we do all of those things to establish the best marketing agency relationship. And while we certainly want you to commit to us, we know we must be committed to the business too. Committed to success and committed to finding your customers and keeping them happy.

So, what should that agency-client commitment look like in practice? Here’s what we think:

  • A passionate pursuit of your customers and clients
  • Regularly checking in with each other on the status
  • General commitment and understanding of the plan ahead
  • Honest conversations when there are challenges
  • And we might even bring you sweets once in a while

While we’re having fun with the idea of agency and client as a relationship, it really is true. The absolute best work happens when there is shared respect, commitment and a defined scope of work.

Breakup? Nooooooo….

Look, it does happen for a variety of reasons: a new marketing director has a new vision, an agency picks up a different piece of work, budgets get axed and people get wooed. We understand that. But HS really tries to avoid that.

While our eyes are always on the lookout for new business, we also never go after someone else’s significant other. We think that’s bad business.

Some of our clients have been with us for over 20 years. Relationships don’t last decades by accident, they are the result of hard work.

So as you prepare to woo your honey, sweetie or (insert pet name here), remember your other relationships too. Relationships with your marketing agency, vendors, customers, employees, partners and prospects. All of these things matter.

Nurture them, and business will be sweet.

Do you want to sit down and make an introduction? Not quite ready for that just yet? Check out our portfolio of work online.