Just signed on the dotted line with a new marketing company? Are you about to? Either way – this is exciting and can be intimidating because you may not know how to get the most out of the new relationship, or what to expect. We aim to help you be the happiest you can be with this article.
To get the most out of your new relationship, you’ll need to take an active role in your marketing. We’ve worked with all kinds of clients from various industries and company sizes, as well as different marketing plans. With rare exception, the clients that were the most successful were the ones who worked with us to make and maintain marketing plans, avoiding expectation and communication pitfalls by looking at the relationship/arrangement as a partnership, not as a hired service (even though it is). Let’s explore the top ways to truly partner with your marketing agency.
Part 1: Set Mutual Expectations with Your Marketing Agency
It’s important for you and your marketing agency to be on the same page. You can’t overcommunicate when it comes to what you want to achieve, your available time, skills, expertise and anticipated contributions, and so much more. Your agency needs all of the information and then some, to make sure they’re a great partner for you. On the other hand, you need a substantial amount of information yourself: realistic expectations based on your goals, practical objectives, timelines, what’s expected of you in terms of labor contributions, etc. Still in the interviewing phase with your marketing agency?
Building a Timeline
When you’ve made your needs clear and have gotten your proposal and plan, you’re ready to set a timeline for goals. Work with your agency to prioritize and set milestones – for both sides. Remember, your new partnership is a two-way street: delays on either side can bring the whole process to a halt and hurt the timeline. If you’re struggling with some of the timelines you’re presented with, just be honest about what you realistically can and can’t do, and can and can’t work with. Honesty is your best friend when it comes to timelines. They can oftentimes be tight and demanding of both sides.
Contacts and Credentials
It’s so important to get the right people the right information at the right time. Make sure you’ve got the appropriate contacts at the agency for the individual parts of your plan (social media, website design, general questions, etc.), and likewise that everyone involved in your company is in the loop. Exchange contact information with all parties on both sides and make sure to store it in the proper places (like your phone, the cloud, in a shared DropBox, etc. Furthermore, be sure to set up credentials for everything the agency needs, from access to your social media account(s) to your website FTP. Well-managed data delivery and contact management can save everyone a lot of headaches down the road.
Part 2: Keep Communication Open and Honest
It’s tempting to get everything set up with your marketing company and then sit back and wait for the results to pour in. But a lack of communication hurts both sides in a marketing relationship: a client who is frustrated when they don’t see progress, and a marketing company that isn’t getting the feedback and approval needed to make a project work. It’s why we list communication as the single most important part of being a happy marketing client. Enter into this new partnership with the expectation that your agency is excited to hear from you, and you should be excited to hear from them. Both sides should prioritize the requests and needs of the other – everything works so well when this happens.
- Communicate Often: Check in regularly with your marketing agency and make sure to set the expectation for them to communicate with you often as well. You shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to check in – please don’t.
- Communicate Clearly: Use the medium which you can most clearly express your needs. A phone call might be good to have a dialogue, while an email excels when providing a lot of information and tracking conversations over time.
- Provide Feedback (Good and Bad): When you get work product from your marketing company, provide feedback. This can be anything from requesting changes to the text on collateral to providing more authentic imagery for a blog. All feedback is good; both positive and negative.
When it comes to communication, we cannot stress enough that there is no such thing as too much communication. Everyone wins when there is clarity present, and solid mutual understanding of status, expectations, deliveries, performance, service, feedback, and so much more. We tend to stress this point heavily in all things, not just this article, because we have found that it is not always people’s natural default, and as a result, communication can stall because people think they’re nice by holding back. Please don’t hold back. You are going to be a much happier person long-term in your new marketing agency partnership the more you (and your marketing agency) communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly – and often. I promise.
Part 3: Marketing is Best as a Partnership
When you sign up with a marketing agency, it’s easy to get in the client-service mindset. Regardless of the number of services or writing in the contract, looking at your relationship with your marketing company as a partnership (even though you’re paying the bill) will help both sides. Honoring the time and efforts of your marketing team will do more than foster goodwill, it will help your plan succeed. Partnering and helping your marketing partner to help you is the best way to approach the new relationship. This mindset will help keep a dialogue open between you and your marketing contacts and allow both of you to come back to the table with enthusiasm and positive energy if the plan needs to be adjusted. Positive and respectful communication will always yield a better exchange of information in any relationship – not just one with a marketing agency.
Ultimately, whether you’re new to working with a third-party for marketing or recovering from being burned by one, keep these ideas in mind when working with them. Looking for a new marketing partner in the New England area? Contact Vision Advertising. We’re a full-service marketing agency (that really loves communication and successful partnerships!), specializing in internet marketing – from websites to social media and everything in-between. Contact us today to start the discussion and find out if partnering with our digital marketing agency is right for you.