As Washington Post writer and bestselling novelist Sarah MacLean once said, “The best partnerships aren’t dependent on a mere common goal, but on a shared path of equality.” While her expertise is romance, these words ring true for many successful associations. If you employ the services and talents of a marketing agency (or you’re married!), you understand this concept.
While working toward a common goal is important, a true partnership involves equal give and take, where both client and marketing agency maximize the value of the relationship, along with their investment. This is especially true as marketing budgets are stretched further and ROI expectations grow higher. So, how can you manage your agency relationship to optimize brand awareness, increase lead generation and sell your products and services?
Solidify Your Strategy
From concept to conversion, strategic planning of your project is crucial. To ensure your marketing efforts generate measurable results, and remain on time and within budget, it’s important to clearly outline project objectives, both internally and with your marketing agency. Investing the time in detailed planning upfront helps ensure effective, efficient execution.
Identify a Single Point of Contact
Creative projects are inherently subjective, and when we work with large companies, we often encounter many opinions—which may or may not align with project objectives. Bringing stakeholders into the process midway or late in the game increases delays, results in unnecessary revisions and typically incurs extra costs.
To avoid this, identify a project leader to work with your agency. Make this person responsible for collecting feedback from your team and distilling it into clear direction for your marketing agency. Ideally, this person will be willing to and has the authority to respectfully push back on feedback that doesn’t align with your defined project goals. Additionally, your project leader needs to know who is required to provide final sign-off on the project and then involve them early in the process.
What is the number one thing you can do to keep project costs down and quality up? Start early! Sure, last-minute projects pop up regularly. However, starting projects early, defining the scope of the project upfront, and involving key stakeholders from the beginning will help you maintain or even reduce your budget. If possible, work with your marketing agency to create a schedule of projects for the next three, six or twelve months, complete with project details, deadlines and costs.
The best creative results come when you view your marketing agency as a partner rather than a vendor (remember that thing about equality?). Good planning and regular, clear communication help both parties identify what they need from each other to consistently produce a high level of work.
Simplify Your Message
The demands on your prospect’s time and attention have never been greater. Simple messaging delivered in small doses consistently over time grabs and keeps attention. Be alert to the tendency of your team to interject comments, suggestions and details that confuse your message. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to communicate everything to everyone, and then end up communicating with no one.
Often, this involves relying on the advice of your marketing agency regarding best practices. Sure, everyone on your internal team might have something they want to convey to prospects, but an experienced marketing agency can help you condense those talking points into a cohesive, targeted campaign. After all, isn’t that what you hired them to do?
Take Creative Risks
And, finally, be willing to take creative risks. Stay abreast of trends in your industry. Take a look at what’s going on in popular culture. Maintain an open mind. Just because your company or industry has always done something a certain way, doesn’t mean you can’t make a change. Now, more than ever, your branding and content needs to cut through the clutter. Let your marketing agency help you design innovative campaigns that help you stand out from the crowd.
There may be nothing romantic about working with a marketing agency, but we’re still hoping for a lasting relationship! As your agency partner, we want to make you and your marketing efforts shine, because, quite honestly, it makes us shine, too.
If you’d like to explore your options, call our Director of Marketing, Jeremy Sterling, at 734-546-5434. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship.