The client perspective
We’re surrounded by beautiful creative that’s produced by talented agencies, so it’s not surprising that many marketers believe it’s easy for agencies to create great work. Just hire an agency, tell them a bit about your brand, tell them what you want, sit back, and wait for the magic.
If that’s your process, you’ve likely been disappointed in the result. You may have blamed, or even fired, your agency.
It’s certainly possible the agency wasn’t the right choice, or their work wasn’t very good. But, it’s more likely that you’re getting bad creative because you’re a bad client.
Great clients know what great creative looks like—but they’re also great partners. How do you treat your agency? As a trusted business partner? Or as one of many suppliers supporting your business?
“If you’ve hired the right creative team for your brand, work with them to set a smart strategy, and then let them do their job.”
Our Two Cents
We agree that a strong relationship between agency and client is the foundation of great work.
Bad creative can sometimes happen because you’ve been a “bad client” (as you probably noticed, our client doesn’t mince words!) But sometimes, it happens because you and your agency partner weren’t the right fit for each other in the first place.
But how do you find the right agency to build a strong relationship with? Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Find an agency that’s the right size for you. For example, if your organization is relatively small, don’t choose a huge agency where you won’t be seen as an important client. Instead, find an agency that will treat you as a high priority.
- Identify and communicate your primary goals. There are plenty of talented agencies out there, but you need to connect with the one that has expertise in solving your unique pain points. Be honest about what you need and ask the agency to share case studies that show relevant experience.
- Don’t be afraid to talk budget. When an agency knows how much money you want to spend, they can make a plan that will maximize your spend and meet your goals. This gives you something concrete to evaluate when you’re considering different agencies.
- Meet the people you’ll be working with. Your perfect agency will be the right size and have the right expertise, but they’ll also be a group of individuals that you can trust and enjoy working with. That’s why it’s so important to meet the people you’ll actually be working with—before you make your decision.
- Be honest. The best agencies will ask you questions about your past experiences with agencies. What worked and what didn’t? Your potential agency needs a clear view of your internal process—the good, the bad, and the ugly. With that information in mind, they can figure out how to execute work that you’re both proud of. Even if you haven’t worked with an agency before, it’s still important to be open about any initial concerns or potential pain points that your agency will need to know.
These guidelines should help you find an agency that you can feel confident about building a relationship with. Remember that you probably won’t achieve perfection right out of the gate, so give it time and keep communication open.