I’ve worked in agencies of all sizes and within different areas of data and marketing. The same themes come up in all of them in terms of what makes for a great client / agency relationship. In no particular order, here are my top five!
Good Account Management
I’m going to take this opportunity to shine the spotlight on the Account Manager role for a moment. I have heard the value of account management questioned once or twice by those not sure where it fits into the work delivered. Now, you might think that, as a Senior Account Manager myself, of course I’m going to say that it’s an essential role. However, when you consider the number of client relationships that an agency is managing, and that each client has individual needs and goals, having one central point of contact to coordinate work across multiple disciplines helps to ensure that everything runs smoothly to support overall business growth.
With growth, comes more information, and more data. The right information must reach the right people – or, for example, those doing the work won’t have an accurate brief to work to. The Account Manager is constantly relaying information back and forth, whilst also acting as a filter and processor so that people have what they without facing information overload. For the team here, this frees up their time and headspace to focus on the execution.
When information goes the other way, from agency to client, it must go through another filter. It must be presented in the right language and format for the audience, which is not just different for every client, but for every job role and occasion, from very granular reporting to bullet points that need to be digested in minutes.
Like any agency dealing with data, we’re drowning in it, as are our clients who have it coming at them from all directions. Your Account Manager will be the one to take a step back and ask, ‘these stats are great, but what does this mean for your business?’
Remembering we all have the same goal
The individual aims of each business may be different – from smaller brands wanting to build brand awareness, to established brands trying to maintain growth in a difficult climate, it’s in all of our interests that the business succeeds.
The more visibility of those business objectives, including plans for the future, challenges and so on that our clients are willing to share with us, the better placed we are to recommend the right strategy. If we ask what else you are doing marketing-wise, it’s not because we are trying to encroach on another area, it’s to see how we can best fit around your existing plans and make the whole marketing effort more successful.
One of the biggest frustrations for any team is when things don’t move at the intended pace, and plans go off track.
From the agency’s side, we need a structured approach to keep track of results and delivery. Weekly scrum meetings help with this, where we check in on every client and identify any outstanding actions or problem areas. Our Agile planners also break our work down into weekly tasks so that the Account Manager to keep an eye on how things are progressing and check that results are in line with our expectations. Without this attention to detail, it’s easy for a week or two to slip by and, when our clients also have busy diaries, things can grind to a halt.
For our clients, if we become stalker-like in our requests for you to sign things off, please bear with us (and ideally, sign it off as soon as you can!). Everything we ask is for a reason that is tied back to your objectives. Regularly uploading blog content, for example, will help your SEO visibility, getting more people to your site, and increasing your sales or leads. So if a few weeks go by without us being able to upload a blog, we get nervous for your results.
Some clients put aside a Cobb afternoon to crack through all our requests. If that’s not doable, let your AM know what works for you – would it help to have a Friday round-up email sent to you of everything that’s outstanding?
There are some nice touches at Cobb Digital that I haven’t seen in other agencies, such as a simple pricing structure that doesn’t try to hide anything, and 30-day contracts is a great USP that encourages us to be on our toes at all times and keep pushing for the best results, without our clients being ‘tied’ to us.
If you have any concerns, I’d encourage you to tell us straight away and we can have a frank conversation, and make any necessary changes. Again, your Account Manager is there for you to raise anything with – taking on feedback, good and bad, is all part of the job. If we don’t know what areas aren’t delivering for you, or what approaches you’re less keen on, we won’t know how to adjust our approach. We also love hearing when our campaigns have generated strong results for you, or a piece of work was well received. This is equally important feedback as it gives us a steer on what to do more of.
I’m not sure whether it’s a Brighton thing or just a smaller agency thing, but there’s definitely a more open and direct approach to our conversations here than I experienced in London, which I’m sure is partly responsible for our strong client retention rate.
This is not at the end for being the least important; quite the opposite, as it underpins my entire top five! Keeping in touch and keeping that flow of information going both ways is what facilitates the other four points. Having a consistent point of contact on the client’s side, as well as your trusty Account Manager in the agency, will help make that communication more efficient.
If you’re looking for an agency you can have a great relationship with, drop us a line or pop in for a coffee to talk about how we can help you.