In an earlier post, I mentioned a study by The IPA which highlighted that ‘mostly agencies feel that clients are not willing to engage in a collaborative environment and clients feel that their agencies do not understand their customer base’. This got me thinking… what can be done to create a more collaborative relationship between agencies and clients?
Using experiences gained from past situations and some additional research, I’ve included some top tips below to help create a more collaborative relationship.
Speaking and Listening
Myself and other members of the Account Management team have spoken about this a fair amount but communication, communication, communication. We can’t get enough of it.
Being able to communicate is key to any business, without it very little would get done! Clients need to be able to convey their challenges and needs, and agencies need to be able to listen and understand what the client’s goals are.
Sharing is Caring
I love data and I love to share any insights I come across with both colleagues and clients, I wouldn’t be in the role or industry I’m in if I didn’t. In some cases, the insight might not necessarily lead to any action, however, it can lead to a great discussion which engages all parties.
Clients know their industries like the back of their palm because they live and breathe it and as such they’re a perfect source in understanding what industry challenges there are for themselves and competitors. This client knowledge coupled with the agency’s digital marketing expertise is when real magic can happen. At the end of the day, the client is best at understanding their industry and the agency has the tools to turn that into actions and create strategies to reach the right customer audiences.
One thing that we pride ourselves on at ThoughtShift is ensuring that we give insights to our clients that will help them reach their goals. It’s not useful at all for either party if we are simply repeating data that can easily be found within Google Analytics. Agencies should be viewed as an extension of the client’s marketing team, this is because clients are taking a risk in investing with an agency rather than hiring a team member to do the same job in-house.
Insights need to be insightful, kind of a given with the word ‘insight’. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from clients who have experienced just a regurgitation of data with no reason why that happened or planned next steps. Yikes!
But it’s no good just hearing insights, action needs to be taken based on those insights to get results. Clients and agencies need to work together in getting the results, little change will occur if no action is taken and it can be frustrating for all and lead to working relationships breaking down.
To recap it all
Follow the below summary of our top tips on how clients and agencies can work more collaboratively together:
- Communicate: Being able to speak and be heard is important in understanding goals and setting expectations
- Share insights: whether this is industry or customer based
- Take action: use the data and insights and create actions from them to deliver results
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