As a digital agency, are you feeling the change in relationship dynamic between you and your clients? Do you want to make sure that your business relationships continue to be rock-solid no matter how digital communications change? We’ve put together this article to help you better understand what negative issues are facing agency-client relationships… and what you can do to avoid them!
Agency-client relationships are just like any relationship: they go through their ups and downs, and to keep maintain them, both parties actually have to put in the effort.
In recent years, the agency-client relationship has morphed, and things aren’t as simple as they used to be. Obviously, an exponential increase in competition hasn’t helped the matter. Just like the millennial generation has a reputation of job-hopping and lacking loyalty, so do brands; in fact, ⅔ of brands work with three or more digital agencies simultaneously (just last year, it was only ¼ of brands). And on top of all this, many brands are now starting to bring their digital marketing expertise in-house, meaning that they have fewer reasons (or so they think) to outsource the work.
What does this mean for you as an agency? Does it mean you’re going to have to work increasingly harder to keep your clients happy and with you for years?
Not necessarily; with just a few optimizations here and there, you can get the agency-client relationship to be that of a team, instead of a client-provider.
Which is so much better, right?
A recent study has shown that agencies and brands don’t always value the same things: while both agencies and brands still agree that creativity and strategic leadership should be priorities, agencies tend to prioritize management capabilities and technological expertise for new trends, whereas brands prioritize analytics and customer-centric strategy.
As an agency, you work for your client, right?
But sometimes, do you find yourself daydreaming that the new campaign you’re working on gets you international recognition (and maybe a marketing award or two), instead of delivering exactly what your client wants?
Are you sometimes concerned with getting bigger clients and contracts, maybe even prioritizing this over taking care of your existing clients?
Do you focus more on the “best practices” of the business and on your professional creative vision instead of on what your client is asking for?
It is understandably frustrating to hear a client ask for a concept that isn’t practical (or sometimes even possible!) in your opinion, and knowing that, ultimately, the final decision isn’t your call to make. However, how you choose to educate your client in order to ensure that they make the best decisions possible… that is entirely in your hands.
While you are no doubt fantastic at all aspects of your job, it’s important to remember the most important part of your work: it isn’t awards, it isn’t doing the craziest, most creative campaigns… it’s making your client 100% happy.
The way to build a great relationship with your client is to, above all, understand that you and your client are a team. Reporting is a part of this teamwork: it helps foster discussion between you, helps educate your client on your work and expertise, and encourages trust and transparency.
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