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6 tips to keep the agency/client flames burning
July 25, 2011 | Inga Rundquist

It’s easy for a marketing director to fire an agency. It can be tempting to throw in the towel when you have your differences. But there are lessons to be learned and benefits to gain from successful long-term agency/client relationship.

Like any other relationship, the client/agency marriage can be a delicate dance that can require compromises, concessions and (dare we say it?) disagreements. But they’re also fun, stimulating and successful.

We’ve put together a list of 6 items that we feel are critical components in a successful, long-term, relationship.

1. Both parties share responsibility for open, honest communication.

Asking questions, talking about problems and concerns, and being available are critical elements in client/agency relationships (or any relationship for that matter!).

2. Trust, respect and understanding lead to better work.

It’s simple – trust each other. A successful partnership is based on mutual respect of intelligence and expertise. If you communicate well with each other you should have the confidence to trust your team’s expertise in taking a marketing message to market.

3. Agree on clearly-defined goals and objectives.

Failing to determine the desired outcomes or agree on the purpose of your marketing program can doom the project from the start.

4. Throw back the curtain.

Give the agency the opportunity to be totally absorbed in your product, people, and culture. An agency can help you create remarkable shifts in your business, but not if you keep them at arm’s length. A good agency wants to be challenged and held accountable for results, but it can only do that if they have complete access.

5. Think big and be open to failure.

Big ideas often make people nervous. Most of the time, that’s how you know you’re on to something. Both client and agency need to work on creating an environment of experimentation and be prepared for failure. Although it’s only natural to conform to "formulaic” marketing for a sense of safety, sometimes the outcome for big ideas is just inherently uncertain. Trust that the result will be viable advertising and that you will learn something about your target audience from it either way.

6. And finally, be kind to each other.

Get to know each other. Take time to play together. It’s human nature for people to want to work harder for their friends than for "acquaintances.” Facilitate an environment of friendship and collaboration.

What do you think? Do you think we missed anything? If so, drop us an email!

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