In search of the perfect agency-client relationship – part one

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | 2pm

In 2016, research by Forrester for SoDA saw some worrying results – the percentage of marketing agencies reporting improvements in relationships with their clients fell to 53% from 70% the previous year.

So what can be done to create the perfect relationship between agency and client?

We’ll go first. Here are four scenarios where agencies are stopping a relationship from working.

Scenario 1: Do I know you?

You’re walking down the street thinking about a great campaign you and your agency pulled off. The best you’ve ever seen, in fact. You really want to thank them, and, look, here’s the perfect opportunity – the account manager at your favourite agency is walking past. Quick, grab him. Except you carry on walking because wasn’t your account manager a her? That’s right, the account team is constantly changing, so why would you recognise them? You hardly see them, anyhow.

So what’s the answer? The best agencies always keep things as consistent as possible but, most importantly, they keep in regular contact and have face-to-face meetings whenever they can. We even opened a San Francisco office recently (to go along with our offices in London, Singapore, and Sydney) so we can be closer to our clients. 

Scenario 2: Do you know who I am?

When you finally do manage to get on a call with your agency (or a face-to-face meeting if you’re lucky) you find yourself explaining what your business actually does. Again. That’s because they’re too busy with their other clients to remember who you are.

So what’s the answer? Successful agencies give their clients dedicated teams and planning directors. We see it as an agency’s job to know their clients’ organisations, and the landscapes surrounding them, better than they do – an outside perspective goes a long way.

Scenario 3: Your agency is working with your competitors even though they say they aren’t.

What gave it away? Was it because they’re making notes with a competitor-branded pen? Or was it all the stuttering and sweat pouring from the account manager’s face when you asked them?

So what’s the answer? An agency working with your competitors isn’t necessarily a bad thing. MOI is multi-vendor in the IT & Tech space, and we don’t try to hide it. As you can see from our clients web page, we’re transparent in who we work with and have separate account teams to ensure we have no NDA or compliancy issues. It’s in an agency’s best interests to help all of their clients be successful, so it doesn’t pay to show favouritism.

Scenario 4: My agency is amazing; they always do exactly what I ask them to.

Sorry to tell you this, but that’s not the sign of a good creative agency. Because it misses the ‘creativity’ part. Where are the new ideas? The new ways of doing things? Isn’t that what you pay them for?

So what’s the answer? A good agency doesn’t just blindly do what it’s told. At MOI Global we’ll challenge the brief if we think it won’t create the impact you need it to, and we don’t just sit back and wait for you to come to us with ideas. We’re always looking for ideas to bring to you. You don’t even have to ask.

Knowing some of the things agencies do that get in the way of the perfect agency, and what they can do to fix it, is just the first part of the puzzle in building the perfect agency-client relationship. So what can clients do? You’ll find out in part two.

Posted by David Haward, Director at MOI Global

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