How to get the best from your Agency?

Aanchal Arora, Founder 1702 Digital

Aanchal Arora, Founder, 1702 Digital, shares her two cents on how brands can get the maximum outcome from their agency and be partners to achieve the best results.

As a brand manager or a CMO, you’d expect your marketing agency to:

  • Understand your business and sales funnels
  • Be proactive in delivery and executable ideation
  • Really marry creatives with media (and not just claim to do it)

The reason you’re reading this article is probably to understand what the other side really thinks of you as a brand manager or a CMO.

As a CMO, you further want to understand what steps you should take for your agency to be more proactive, more responsive and more empathizing of your internal dynamics with the management. After all, aren’t you as the brand custodian and your agency working to achieve the same goal?

The key to achieving harmony is probably something that you’ve already heard but may not have practiced.

The secret is to go from being a client to a partner. Yep, it’s that simple.

Having been at both sides of the funnel—a client and a vendor, I’m going to lay down 3 practical steps that can help to get the best out of your agency:

Discuss KPIs, Budgets and Impact on Business:

Goal-setting is essential for any relationship. We have personal goals—marriage goals, travel goals, house goals, goals for parents, goals for kids. Any two different entities when they come together have to work towards NOT just a vision but also KPIs to ACHIEVE that vision.

The trick is to lay down the budgets for campaigns in advance, consolidate feedback to avoid iterations and keep explaining the negative or positive impact of your agency’s efforts on your revenues. Your encouraging involvement with your agency will always be directly proportional to the positive results you’d see.

In a Nutshell, aligning expectation as they call it.

Quell your agency’s insecurity

Let’s face it. Every second millennial with an Instagram account today claims to be a “social media expert”. Every second intern who joins an agency claims to be a “growth hacker brand strategist”. With one “digital marketing agency” in every lane, agencies and service providers are bound to be a little insecure.

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They’d never accept it because they take pride in the “quality” they deliver. In their heads, they are different from the rest and maybe rightly so. That Creative Director, Art Director and that Media head of your agency think that they’ve given their life to cracking solutions for clients for years, and hence they will be irked if you show distrust in any way. Be angry, be demanding but never show distrust once you’ve chosen them.

But also keep the agency from lapsing into complacency

Let’s get this straight. Everyone is working on ROIs, everyone is looking for the most profitable returns on every penny spent. Mostly everyone is looking for the best quality at the most economical price.

They say clients can’t be your friends. And I agree.

Clients have to work like partners, not friends. There will be lapses; its human. There may be clashes on subjective opinions as well; it’s inevitable. The brief could be misinterpreted, or even modified, or the agency could run with it in a different direction not aligned with the company’s vision.

In all these situations, you have to make sure that you devise an update method which is respectful yet demanding. If you represent an aggressively growing company, you will rely on your agency partners to be as aggressive. It’s only fair.

This article is authored by Aanchal Arora, Founder of 1702 Digital. It is the part of a regular column on Socialsamosa.