Every financial year agencies map out their new business efforts while brands think of their marketing plans. The drawn blueprints hinge on last year’s performance with significant changes across several industries. At least every agency has a story to tell of a client relationship that entirely went off the rails.
The reasons for these severed relations may vary from miscommunication to poor management. At this point, agencies need to take a step back and query themselves. The question needing swift answering is what clients are looking for from them. Most agencies have operated under the notion that clients are only looking for work. This misconception has made agencies be taken as a major source of outsourced work. Studies show that agencies get evaluated based on their last deliverables.
Clients are looking for more to get value in partnerships, narrow expertise, and proactive problem-solving. There are five formidable things brands expect from their agencies to enhance customer experience and deliver what consumers want.
The existent partnership is all about the knowledge of the business and the brand as a whole. The marketers are seeking to work with agencies that understand their brands and the industry. Two of the questions the brand marketers seek answers for are “who learned the most about my band during the review process?” and “who taught me the most throughout the review process?” Brands are in need of agencies to tell them what they need or require, as per their expertise. When brands introduce themselves into uncomfortable areas, they will probably come into more added value from each deliverable an agency makes on their behalf for their clients.
Brands are looking for narrow expertise rather than broad knowledge to lock in an agency that will deliver one service to their best ability. Brands employ in-house marketers handling various duties within the company to maximize multiple talent sources. Clients are moving to a model of multi-agency relationship to tap into different skills from different partners. The advent of the internet has made narrow expertise desirable where a small business does not need to rely on agencies located in its hometown. The increased digital marketing competitiveness and complexity complicate the matter further. Expertise wins you the game as clients seek partners who do one thing really well and not everything. Agencies must ditch the full-service delivery model and concentrate on defining their positions clearly and developing specific narrow markets skills. There must be the aligning of specialization with the target market’s requirements. These market demands are new products, telling a brand story, and attaining customer loyalty.
Speed and agility
Agency partners get constant challenges from marketers to work in more agile ways. Demand partners are those constantly questioning and reinventing their processes and workflows. The questioning is to provide grounds to move with speed and efficiency and provide better results all the while. Such agencies must not just be tactical but strategic. A recent survey conducted by Forbes outlines what clients are looking for in partnerships. Some of the things rated highly are speed, agility, prioritization of media strategy, brand messaging, and marketing strategy.
Clients also sort speed and agility in responding to changes in market trends and crisis for example pandemics like coronavirus. The brand’s bottom line is protecting its front-line workers charged with service delivery. The agility and speed are necessary to sustain delivering consumers’ wants amidst the pandemic to attain business sustainability and customer loyalty. It is incumbent upon agencies to work strategies that are excellent in filling emerging gaps, especially in their spheres of expertise, to stand out. Strategies mapping to deliver with speed, in an agile way, requires the understating of trends and creative work for long-term plans.
The adopted media or marketing strategy should seek value by avoiding pushing the client or being too salesy. The agency must be strategic to research to dig deeper on the consumers’ want to fit within the broader marketing goal. Mention existing spotted opportunity lapses even if it does not portent benefit for the agency immediately. The genuine functional pieces of advice given will lead to eventual contracts, and the agency will respond with speed due to the prior understanding of the need.
Clients are looking for proactive agencies who are quick to think on their feet. The chosen agency should self-initiate endeavors meant for problem-solving even before the problem occurs. There should be seen advance actions to future situations rather than react to their occurrences. For instance, if a client hires a CMO, the agency should not run away but engage the client on an offer to host a review. Agencies assume the presence of the CMO renders them redundant in their role to the brand. Sticking around gives them the chance of evaluating the CMO’s performance since they have performance indices. An astute marketer will find thrill in this proactive call as it builds trust in what he is doing as a proper action by the client.
Successful agencies consistently follow a similar pattern of a client generating a problem, the agency develops and provides a solution, and the client leaves happy. This approach has its limitation in curtailing the client’s growth potential as it reduces an agency to a singular purpose outlet. The generated profits are lower, and this puts the agency on a single deliverable away from firing. You need to identify problems proactively to allow you to become a partner.
As a partner, dig deeper to identify where the client needs the campaign. Intense research may reveal client’s struggling points like attracting younger consumers. The gained information is ideal in developing a broader and profitable campaign as the agency is on hire for solutions rather than work. Proactive problem identification and solution delivery grant clients their exact desires even before they ask. An understanding of the three points comes in hand in spotting opportunities and client issues before they arise. Get to understand the client’s business and industry and your expertise to elevate yourself into a trusted partner.
Proactivity pays handsomely in the end as it leads to problem solutions. The solution is proceeding edge by edge, ensuring to get involved with the business, not only in communication, but also in product issues.
Brands have a high expectation of agencies to offer their services with utmost transparency. The number of emerging agencies is on the rise, making transparency a critical requirement. These agencies have the arduous task of developing trust as it is significantly the most problematic issue between brands and agencies. An agency should open, operate and stick to an open book policy, allowing clients access to all manner of needed information about them. Any business engagement built on trust lasts. The communication lines are open and honest on all matters. Brands hate running into problems emerging from a third party’s negligence. There is an urgent need for agencies to keep abreast with emerging avoidable issues.
The agency operations understanding has led to the emergence of informed clients who don’t just ascribe to agency services without queries. The inception of the on-demand pricing and productized services era has equipped clients with knowledge of the agency workings. Any online provider lacking transparency stands to lose due to developed distrust. Clients will happily pay for the provided services from what they know from the beginning and their value.
Agencies should be bold enough and dare to open their doors to clients so that they can participate and co-create. Charge clients with bills known to them and make changes to any project after extensive consultation with the client on the change. Clients will willingly trust you by how much clarity and transparency you adopt when dealing with them. Care to explain every billing element with specifications on charges and explain how the resources and materials entrusted to you worked. Using software with the ability to create and generate these reports is handy. The software works towards saving you time and effort and develops transparency in your relationships with brands.
The requirements of building an excellent strong brand are milestones and achievements measurement. The measurement focuses on client satisfaction with a brand’s products or services. The phrase “Be willing to date before you get married” is ideally applicable in this instance. There is a need to build a relationship that grants an opportunity of proving one’s self. Give room for clients to query your past customers, provide case studies, and willingly take up small projects to build you up. Bigger and better projects come via an established understanding of how your company operates.
With the above experiences, clients will get strategic advice, great creatives, and timely smashing results from you. Perhaps the most critical delivery brands will get from you is client satisfaction. Satisfaction is a warm feeling of knowing that you are integral to the brand and that the agency is working towards bettering your life. Satisfaction emanates from being heard and getting client queries responded to in hours. The given responses and updates are clear, concise, and transparent on the project’s status. Satisfaction is a client’s priority alongside results.
How COR can help to build an excellent Partnership between Brands and Agencies
It has become a daunting task for managers like a CMO to manage a diverse team, composed of millennials, trainees, and experts, without proper management software. COR is a software ideal for agencies and clients in managing employees and projects. The software is a project management system that grants agility in delivering work on time. Task scheduling is effortless with an adept tracking and reporting system. The adept reporting system relay real-time results and reports of each employee. COR helps foster client-agency relationships by regulating budgets, keeping track of production deadlines, and keeping marketers on track with the agency’s team. Monitoring of the likely unsanctioned agency account happens to keep records of who is handling what task and the expected timelines.
Using COR makes you better at responding and attending to over-demanding clients. The system helps an agency partner to provide strategic depth, clear communication, and transparent operation. COR quickly helps in obtaining client feedback, streamlines communication between stakeholders, and creates instant reports. The ready-made records, enhanced communication, and timely respondents’ availability through COR greatly help in forging and fostering an excellent partnership between brands and agencies. Besides, using metrics such as time trackers, timelines, and task allocators guarantees utmost responsibility to whatever assigned task one is executing.
COR system guarantees transparency in task and service delivery. Any agency that adopts its use is sure to deliver as per the brand’s requirements. The brands will gain confidence in the agency work using COR and exploit the opportunity to collaborate between both parties. Further, COR metrics provide data on hours worked, the involved teams, and pieces of information supporting the pricing and fair negotiations with clients. These are metrics that involve profitability per client, project and service provided. These collected data form the bottom line of brand messaging that is significant to excellent brand development. Any agency using such a system will effortlessly build a powerful excellent partnership with a brand.
Using COR fosters a general collaborative work environment that makes relationships much more fluid and efficient. The collaborative coordination of activities by the software ensures this. In building an excellent partnership between brands and agencies, COR grants agencies the chance of making their clients household names and global brands. Ideally, COR’s automation of tasks, time estimation through artificial intelligence, time tracking, report generation, and business suggestion helps agencies stay atop their game.