We view our relationships with our clients as partnerships. That’s not just industry-speak, it’s the truth. We have great, engaged clients, which makes our jobs as digital marketers interesting and enjoyable. Over the years, we have found that when both agency and client work together in the following ways, it really brings optimal results.
Participate in your marketing! The most successful marketing projects are those where our clients are actively involved throughout the process. No organizations are exactly alike, and no one knows your business better than you do. The kind of insight you can offer to your products, services, customers, and philosophy are irreplaceable. When you help your digital marketing agency truly understand your business, they are able to develop more effective campaigns that resonate with your audience. On the flip side, it is a marketing agency’s responsibility to tell you what they need from you in order to be successful.
More is more. To continue with this theme, the more information you can provide up front, the better. You and the agency you’ve hired should talk through all of the components of a marketing mix that you are considering. Do you have an event or promotion coming up that will need email communication or print materials? Even if they are months away, get those things on the table up front, so they can be included as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Streamline communication. Studio 7 uses Basecamp to keep our projects on track. We run all project-related communication through this system, so everything can be seen in one place. There may be several people from your company involved in your marketing efforts, but if possible, designate one person as the point of contact with your marketing firm. The agency you’ve hired should also communicate to you their team’s roles, and who your primary contact will be on their end.
Help maintain the project schedule. Your agency should give you a complete production schedule for your project, including all items your company is responsible for providing. It is up to both parties to meet deadlines, and communicate as early as possible if and when anything on the schedule is going to change, and how that will affect the project.
Know when to let go. You or someone from your team may have experience with design, copywriting, or SEO, but keep in mind why you hired your marketing team. If they are asking the right kinds of questions and putting in the necessary time up front, they should have what they need to create a campaign that aligns with established goals. One caveat here can be social media. If you and your agency have laid out a solid social media plan, your organization’s direct participation in social media engagement can be a real asset. A 100% authentic brand voice is the best brand voice.
Feedback is critical. It is your marketing firm’s responsibility to provide a thorough delivery of certain creative elements, such as design mock-ups. A thorough delivery means you should be looking at them together, with the designer and/or strategist explaining what you are looking at, why it looks the way it does, and how it aligns with campaign’s goals. Offer your constructive feedback, and be open to the designer’s explanation of the thought process behind the creative decisions. It may change your perspective (or it may not!) When giving your feedback, be as specific as possible about what you like, don’t like, and why. Try to offer “descriptive,” not “prescriptive” feedback. (This means, explain your concerns, and let the creative team decide how to remedy the situation, rather than telling them how to fix something.)
All of these things can be summed up in one final “secret”: We need your help. We can’t do our job well without you, and we don’t want to work without you. As with any relationship, when both sides participate, put in effort and honor their commitments, mutual trust develops, and ideally, the base for a long-term partnership is created.
As a digital marketing professional or a customer, what would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!