Just as with any relationship, it’s easy for clients and their outsourced marketing agencies to slip into lazy or bad habits. You give them a brief. They do the work. You review the work. You approve the work. Then everyone moves on the to next project.
It’s one way of getting the job done. But it's not necessarily the best way to work with marketing firms. So here are a few best practices on how to best work with your b2b marketing agency:
1: Aim high.
- Once your project is defined, make sure the brief is agreed all the way to the top of the approval ladder. When writing the brief, mine existing data for fresh insights.
- Agencies are often too optimistic when they commit to due dates, especially under client pressure. So set realistic deadlines, and allow time for ideas to incubate.
- Remember the quote “all ideas are born drowning”. Do what you can to help great concepts survive and thrive.
- Encourage the agency to aim high and don’t sit back and wait. Show them that you’re enthusiastic about the project, and keen to see their ideas.
2. Be a leader.
- Have a clear vision of where your brand needs to go. Then run a tight operation that drives for results and respects people.
- Stick your neck out for something you believe in. But don’t dogmatically try to get your own way every time.
- Once you go with an agency recommendation, don’t change your mind if the going gets tough up the line.
- Rather than taking the guts out of a campaign by compromise, give your agency access to management when there are genuine stalemates.
3. Involve agency people.
- If you are genuinely interested in the agency’s point of view, they will be highly motivated by the environment you create.
- So capitalize on the diversity of your agency’s experience. It’s one of their biggest strengths.
- Keep them abreast of the vital questions that concern you and your brand. On big issues, ask for input from the agency’s senior management.
(Thanks to Tim Lines, Brand chemistry friend and ally, for his golden touch on this week’s blog).
Don't have an agency just yet? Check out our 7-step checklist to choosing your inbound agency.