A good agency can become a highly valuable partner for a business. Whether the agency manages all aspects of a smaller business’s marketing or a specific channel or mix of channels for a larger organisation, getting the relationship right can have a significant impact on success.
Having recently engaged an agency ourselves for some work that we didn’t have time to do in-house, I’ve been on both sides of the agency-client fence. It was an insightful experience that has subsequently impacted some of our client relationship processes.
With transparency and collaboration in mind, here then are my 8 Top Tips for getting the best out of your agency that will surely lead to more bang for your buck:
1. Help your agency understand your business
Commit the time and resources to educate a new agency about your business. Nobody knows your business as well as you so it’s important for you to pass as much of that knowledge as possible to the agency. We have a fully immersive process at Ignite that takes a few days of workshops, interviews and exercises. Sometimes we even serve customers in your hotel or restaurant! Clients that understand how important this phase is and fully engage with the process really enhance the work that can be produced.
2. Provide timely feedback
Agencies get into a flow with a project and timely feedback from the client keeps the momentum going. Don’t worry if you don’t like something, we don’t get offended, but we really stall when a client doesn’t respond to work that we’ve delivered. If a number of stakeholders are involved in feedback devise an internal process to efficiently collate all feedback and revert back to the agency with one clear & cohesive response.
3. Pay on time
Good agencies work hard for their clients and only really ask in return to be treated with respect and paid without delay or hassle. Believe me, we’ve heard every excuse in the book about payment delay and it doesn’t make us feel good at all. Nothing annoys an agency more than late payment of bills after the agency has busted a gut to deliver an awesome result for the client.
4. Treat agencies like partners, not vendors
A good agency adds significant value and revenue to your business. Though there is a technical vendor relationship if you treat us as equal partners we will feel a true part of your team and deliver better work for you. Clients seek agencies for a reason, to produce work they can’t or would rather not do in-house. If you’ve selected the right agency you can develop a mutually beneficial and rewarding long-term relationship that can last for many years.
5. Have a realistic budget and timeframe
Ok so this is actually two-in-one but they tend to go together. If you want a good job doing you need to allow the agency sufficient resources to deliver a good job. Agencies can often turn work around quickly but I can assure you that if we have a reasonable amount of time you will get a far better result. Same goes for budget, remind yourself that you get what you pay for so plan to invest appropriately in your marketing.
6. Provide clear boundaries when working with multiple agencies
It’s not unusual to be part of a mix of agencies for a larger client and most agencies are happy to work alongside each other. However it’s crucially important for all concerned that the client clearly defines the boundaries between the agencies and communicates that to all concerned. This prevents confusion and discomfort between agencies and ensures everyone knows who is responsible for what.
7. Be clear about what you want to achieve
What does ‘good’ and ‘success’ look like? What is the business problem you’re trying to solve? Set clear objectives and provide as much detail about what you’d like to achieve. Use the briefing process to communicate as much as you can about the background of the project, the company’s strategy and what problem you’re trying to solve. Remember that agencies can often help you identify the best techniques to overcome business challenges.
8. Remember, we’re people too
Most people working at good agencies are passionate and take pride in their work. We actually care a great deal about the success of our clients and our projects. Being nice to us is the most effective way to maximise our potential. Say thanks to the guys working on your project, tell us when we’ve done a good job, share awesome results with us, tell the boss we’re doing well and bribe us with gifts of chocolate! (You’d be amazed at how effective that is!)
If you’re engaging a new agency, or currently work with one, score yourself against each of these and see how you stack up. Believe me, clients who score highly will be assured the very best returns on their investments and dedication from their agencies.
To find out how Ignite Hospitality Marketing Agency can work with your business, please get in touch.