4 Keys to a Winning Client-Agency Relationship

Honesty. Communication. Trust. Respect. The same things that make successful personal and professional relationships underpin a great client-agency relationship. I’ve had honor of working with, and more importantly learning from, many agencies during my career. Managing an agency can be an incredibly rewarding part of a digital marketer’s job. Getting the most out of that relationship requires four things above all else…

Be open and real.

Your agency is an extension of your team. When you treat them that way, you’ll get their best work. In fact, they’ll want to work on your account. Our account was sought after at the agency because we had a reputation of being a good client – we valued the team and they always knew where they stood with us. That means your account gets the best agency talent – and that’s good for business. 

Get on the same page.

It’s likely that your agency doesn’t work in the same office as you. That immediately presents a challenge. Structuring a weekly status to run through the key projects, timelines, and deliverables is incredibly valuable. It saves email, and more importantly, frustration. It minimizes surprises and keeps the various teams moving in the same direction. Establishing clear goals and objectives sets expectations on both sides. Get in the details, they matter. So in a word-ish: over-communicate.

Praise a job well done. Correct a job not-so-well done.

When your agency partners deliver for you – let them know! By laying out clear goals, your agency should know what success looks like. Delivering on a goal should be a win-win. Conversely, when things don’t go to plan, ask whether clear expectations were set to begin with. If the answer is no, then you and your agency likely had different definitions of success, which is problematic. On the other hand, if goals were well defined and agreed upon, have a post-mortem on why to diagnose the cause and help things go better in the future.

Push the comfort zone.

You hired an agency to bring creative ideas and strategies to your business. If they’re not pushing you as a brand out of your comfort zone, they’re not doing their job. Get comfortable with some discomfort in the form of edgy creative ideas and new approaches to everything from planning to media execution.

There you have it – four things that lay the foundation to a successful client-agency relationship. Agencies can be a powerful extension of your team – so make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximize the output. Are there some key things you found successful when managing an agency?



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