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

Thursday, March 2, 2017 | 12pm

In part one, I wrote about the things agencies do that get in the way of the perfect agency-client relationship. This was in answer to research Forrester carried out in 2016 for SoDA: it highlighted that the percentage of agencies reporting improvements in relationships with their clients fell to 53% from 70% the previous year.

Now it’s the turn of the clients. What do clients do that get in the way of relationships, and what can they do about it?

Scenario 1: What does the client even want?

A client knows what they want. But we only find out what that is after we give them what they don’t want, because their original brief was ambiguous and lacked structure.

So what’s the answer? Don’t panic because you aren’t entirely sure what you want, and so give your agency a last-minute, vague idea and then expect them to come back with something you’ll be happy with. At MOI we love producing successful and creative campaigns for our clients, so just give us a call if you’re stuck for ideas – we’re always having ideas. Tell us what your goals are, what resources you have, and we’ll work it out.

Scenario 2: We don’t know enough

A client wants to market a complex, niche product or service that requires expert knowledge to properly understand (as tends to happen when you work with IT and tech B2B brands). The only problem is that our main expertise lies in the marketing part.

So what’s the answer? We’re pretty good at marketing, and we know a fair bit about IT and tech too, but don’t expect us to automatically know every little detail of your new product, service or technology. The clients are the real experts, and if they want us to produce something that accurately reflects them, and something that’s truly creative, they need to give us access to their knowledge. As much as possible. The most creative work comes when we know what you do inside out.

Scenario 3: Same old, same old

We have a great idea to show a client. Something that’s both creative and will help the brand engage their customers. But we end up doing the same thing as last time because we weren’t given the opportunity to explain it.

So what’s the answer? Clients need to give agencies the time to present new ideas. And they need to listen and give feedback. It’s as simple as that.

Scenario 4: Don’t you want results? Because we certainly do.

A client has told us they want us to plan and execute a multi-channel, international marketing campaign. That’s great for us. The only problem is that we don’t know why. What are they hoping to achieve? Why are they giving us all this money? Clients need to tell us what results they’re looking for before they spend money on something that isn’t going to do what they want it to.

So what’s the answer? There are a lot of creative people at MOI, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t business-results oriented. And we’re better at using our creativity to get results if the client lets us know what they’re actually trying to achieve.

Scenario 5: This is 2017. You’re a tech company. So where’s the data?

We know everything there is to know about a client. Except for one thing: their customers. We don’t know who they are, where they are, or what they talk about. So how are we supposed to engage them and subsequently sell to them?

So what’s the answer? The internet means that today’s modern B2B buyers can learn everything there is to know about you and your competitors before your sales people even know they exist. But with the right data you can get the right content to them at the right time, depending on where they are in the buyer journey and engage them on their terms. So clients need to give us access to as much data as possible.

What do you think we should be doing? What can we do to solve the problems highlighted in the SoDA report? Hopefully the trend of agency-client relationships breaking down will be reversed if we can start to follow some of these pointers.

Posted by David Haward, Director at MOI Global

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