How to Drive Better Results with a Stronger Agency Relationship
October 20th, 2021 by
- Define and communicate your goals.
- Designate a decision maker and stakeholders.
- Make time for your agency.
- Be open to sharing your business results.
- Provide feedback to your agency partners.
A great relationship and a solid rapport with your agency lays the groundwork for excellent results and ideal collaboration throughout the lifespan of your campaigns. With open lines of communication, your agency can better customize your user experience to you and your campaign goals. If you’ve built a strong relationship with your agency, you’re likely to feel more in the loop with goal setting and goal achievement.
This post will cover some ground rules for building stronger relationships with your agency and explain how a strong relationship can influence campaign results.
What You Should Expect from Your Agency
When you first hire an agency, setting ground rules or expectations and knowing everyone’s roles and involvement is crucial to having a great partnership.
An agency should assign you one point of contact versus having you track down the right graphic designer, website developer, or content editor. Your account manager should work as a liaison to agency teams that support all facets of your campaigns and maintain responsibility for all communication. Additionally, your account manager should be knowledgeable of campaign optimizations and, ultimately, campaign results.
The account manager should set a monthly meeting cadence, with a bare minimum of one monthly reporting meeting per month. In the infancy of a campaign, bi-weekly check-ins are recommended so you can make refinements to the quality of the leads your marketing agency generates. Forbes suggests that ongoing communication helps both the client and agency ensure the opportunity for success while strengthening the relationship. In meetings, the account manager should report and discuss the following:
- Campaign results & progress (both good and bad)
- Upcoming optimizations and tactics
- Needs for photo and video assets to support optimizations
The account manager should be able to thumb through your current assets and make suggestions on whether or not your assets are usable. If they are unusable, they might pair you with one of their preferred photography or videography vendors. Additionally, they should request insight into how their campaigns are affecting your bottom line and business.
In order to make sure they positively affect your bottom line, your marketing agency should work with you to define:
- Clear key performance indicators (KPIs)
- This includes primary KPIs and secondary KPIs
KPIs should be defined and established at the start of any new campaign. Your goals should stay central to all conversations since these goals will indicate the success of your campaign. If your ongoing discussions with your agency do not include goals or KPIs, inquire how your agency is measuring success for the campaigns they manage.
Define & Communicate Your Goals
It’s crucial that a business defines and communicates its goals to their agency so there’s transparency and no room to question what you define as success. Your agency needs to know the end goal for your campaign in order to achieve those results.
When your agency asks you about goal setting, start by thinking about how you’d define success. Ask yourself:
- Is it a certain revenue number?
- A certain number of sold tickets or appointment bookings?
- Improvement in targeted keywords?
- Increased website visits?
If this is data you haven’t been tracking for past campaigns, your agency should have a model that will prompt you and your team to make some assumptions. These models should help you set targets or estimate certain metrics, such as the number of leads or the conversion rate.
Designate a Decision Maker and Stakeholders
Having too many cooks in the kitchen is never a good thing—and not ideal for your agency relationship. You must determine who will be involved with the agency, both directly and indirectly. Clearly defining one central point of contact to interact with your account manager daily makes communication run smoothly for both teams.
Having the ability to make quick and accurate decisions ensures your agency achieves success faster. When considering the best point-of-contact for your account managers, you want to ensure that this person has decision-making power. A lack of autonomy could delay projects for days or even weeks until the point-of-contact can bubble up requests for approval to the top person with decision-making power.
During and after choosing roles and delegates for your agency partnership, ensure your team dedicates adequate time for managing and maintaining an A+ relationship with your agency.
At the very minimum, your agency will ask you to join monthly reporting meetings, bi-weekly performance reviews, and respond to emails with feedback to information that needs your approval, including:
- Content marketing
- Ad copy
- Other assets crucial to the success of your campaigns
Your agency will want your opinion on creative and feedback on performance in the infancy of your campaigns because this essential feedback can influence the success of your campaigns. Once you are comfortable with your agency and feel like they act as an extension of your team, you may feel comfortable auto-approving creative assets—which then takes a load off your plate!
As previously mentioned, assets can potentially make and break your campaigns. In the startup phase of campaigns, you must provide high-quality assets to ensure the success of your campaigns. These requests might be as simple as logins to your website, CRM systems, or third-party listings such as Yelp, Bing, and Google My Business. This request might also include creative assets such as:
These assets often aid campaigns such a Google and Facebook Display. Therefore, we must use professional, high-quality assets. High-quality assets can help cement the trustworthiness of your brand and products. It’s logical to assume that users might be hesitant to buy from a brand using low-quality assets in their ad campaigns. If you are in a position where you don’t own high-quality video and image assets, you should be upfront with your agency and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your marketing agency should be able to aid with getting new creative, whether that be leading the charge on a logo / creative overhaul or simply matching you with the right photographer or videographer in your market. Creative assets are so important that it’s always worth investing in five-star creative before launching any campaign.
Be Open to Sharing Your Business Results
As you form your relationship with your marketing agency, you should consider them an extension of your current internal team. You want to establish this comfort level so you feel good about sharing business results with your agency.
Being transparent about your agency’s revenue is the bare minimum of information you should provide. This level of transparency helps your agency understand and calculate your return on investment. Your marketing agency should want to influence your bottom line and cannot know how they affect your bottom line without full transparency.
Provide Feedback to Your Agency partners
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to ensure your agency gives you top-notch service is to provide your marketing agency with feedback. A good agency will want to hear the good AND the bad to cater to their relationship and to meet your wants and needs. Your agency should solicit feedback about the following:
- Quality of completed work or deliverables
- Feedback on the quality of campaign leads generated
- Any satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your existing relationship
An agency is not able to make any changes without feedback from you. Per the American Marketing Association, one of the most complex relationships in our industry is the client and agency partnership—so establishing a good cadence for feedback should be at the top of your priorities!
If you follow the above six ground rules, you should have a successful agency relationship that feels like a match made in heaven. Remember that transparency and openness on both sides are crucial to achieving both teams’ desired results.