Working with a marketing agency should be a two-way street. It takes both sides cooperating for the best results and to build a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship. As a marketing agency with clients in a wide variety of industries, we’ve learned from our experiences, so we wanted to provide you with some helpful insight. Keep reading for Diedrich RPM (DRPM)’s top three ways to optimize your marketing agency relationship!
Clear Communication and Expectations
- What measurable goals do you have that will bring you to your “end goal”? Know and define your company goals before you get started, and your agency should have the skills and foresight to create a strategy that aligns with these goals, along with an actionable plan to make your vision a reality. Before DRPM officially works with a client, we do necessary background research and create a draft planning document to complete an initial analysis of the company. Once we have this information on the company’s goals, current revenue, value of a lead, etc., we can move forward to create a custom, strategic marketing plan. See below for an example of a draft planning template that we use for our prospective clients.
- What does your company like or dislike regarding design, copy style, ads, and etc.? By providing honest feedback, your agency can incorporate that information moving forward. By sharing any misgivings immediately, your agency can further explain the plan and uncover expectations that need clarification. The more they know, the better they can adjust strategies to anticipate and avoid potential problems. Being candid upfront can save both parties time and headache down the road
Strengthen Your Connection
- Establish a relationship that encourages direct, open, and honest conversations. When you do, you may just be surprised how much more you get out of your agency-client relationship. Although collaborating through digital avenues is acceptable and convenient, make sure to plan for some face-to-face conversations to ensure quality communication and to build rapport. Our account managers agree that in-person client meetings strengthen relationships and allow them to pick up on verbal cues and body language, which can reduce miscommunication.
Establish a Two-Way Partnership
Build a Solid Foundation
- Agency-client relationships should be partnerships built on trust, collaboration, and mutual respect. Strong partnerships get the best results. If you view your current agency as a vendor to only take orders, you’re missing out on a lot of value. You should feel like your agency is an extension of your business, as a partner who’s always got your back and has the expertise to help your company succeed.
Give Them Any Completed Research
- During the initial stages of relationship building, your agency should perform research on your company, as well as analyze and incorporate any existing research that has already been completed to formulate the best marketing plan moving forward. This can include primary or secondary research, information on digital marketing strategies that have worked well or not so well, results of any other marketing tactics, channels that bring in the most revenue, and etc. The more you share your past performance, the more effective the agency will be. If your company hasn’t completed primary research such as understanding where you’re positioned in the market or who your competitors are, we would strongly recommend doing so.
- One aspect of DRPM that sets us apart among other agencies is that we have an on-site research team, including a call center, to conduct surveys, perform data collection, statistical analyses, and other services. The “RPM” in our company name does mean “research propelled marketing” after all. An example of a successful research project was for one of our clients in the liquor business. They wanted to start a new brand of whiskey but wanted us to validate this new direction for their business with research before fully investing their resources for the launch. Our research team discovered that vodka was a better alternative and vetted numerous brand names, logos, and bottle design options. Not only does completing research validate the marketing direction for a company, but it can also help them avoid costly mistakes and find alternative opportunities for new products and services.
Let Them Help You Succeed
Trust Their Plan
- Once a plan of action has been determined, take a step back and let the agency do what they’re best at. However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid contact since the most successful projects involve collaboration from both parties. Avoid the temptation of micro-managing the marketing plan, since the agency should have solid research and testing to back up their decisions. Once the marketing plan is executed, your agency should always share the results with you. They should be held accountable for your deliverables and to meet your communicated expectations.
Taking Risks is Okay
- Agencies love a good challenge, but they also need permission to challenge the client too. If you’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time, it can be difficult to change or be open to new ideas. Having a trusting partnership gives the agency the freedom to be creative, take calculated risks, and use their experience to provide results. Before an entire marketing plan is executed, DRPM conducts pilot testing for ads and messaging to determine the most effective and successful solutions with a limited budget. This way, we can mitigate risk and ensure optimal results.
With these tips in mind, you’re on track to optimizing your marketing agency relationship! Here’s a closing remark from our Director of Marketing and Operations Colleen Lapel, “At Diedrich RPM, we keep our clients’ goals and objectives top of mind with every marketing decision and strategy we propose to them. We feel as if we are an extension of that company and are conscious about the ROI for every dollar we propose for their investment. Our mission is simple—to achieve growth through performance, innovation, and efficient client support. It’s a philosophy that we live by every day.”