The decision to work with a PR and digital marketing agency doesn’t come lightly. By the time you’re ready to choose a PR and digital marketing agency, you’ve already done your due diligence. You know that your marketing objectives are best served by hiring communications experts, and you’ve determined that the agency of your choice can meet and even exceed your expectations.
You’ve evaluated their capabilities. Maybe you’ve seen several of their case studies and examples of work for other clients. You’ve laid out your business objectives and feel confident that your chosen agency will provide the creativity, service, and results that you’re looking for.
Once you’ve made the hire, you can sit back and let your new marketing partner run with the ball, right?
Well, not exactly. Strong agency/client relationships require building a solid foundation. If you want to ensure the success you need to move your brand forward, your work has just begun. There are several things you need to commit to regularly to see the very best possible results from this new relationship.
Following are some ways to ensure a successful partnership with your new PR and digital marketing agency team.
You’ve hired this agency for a reason—because you trust they can provide the results you want. But trust requires a two-way commitment that can withstand conflict.
Though conflict is normal, it can be made more comfortable if the relationship provides a safe climate to share ideas and allows everyone to speak up, think differently, and discuss different approaches to a communications or marketing challenge.
The trust you build will give your agency team the confidence they need to be honest in all aspects of your marketing strategy, even when they must deliver news that you may not want to hear.
When you’re able to have open, healthy conversations about the challenges you face, then excellence can happen. Without the comfort that trust and honesty bring, you and your agency will spend more time tiptoeing around the issues than moving your brand forward.
To be an effective partner, you and the agency must clarify and agree on mutual expectations at the beginning of the relationship. Let them know right away what you hope to see within the partnership. Set clear goals that can be measured in real metrics, and let them know what you expect to see and hear from them regularly.
Those clearly set expectations will help avoid any confusion or disappointment down the line. And remember: expectations may not always be realistic. Be open and accepting if situations change, and provide and accept updates on expectations on a regular basis.
In most cases, there will be a series of deadlines that the agency must meet to keep your program on schedule, and every step along the way will require input on your part. Don’t make it difficult for your agency to meet those deadlines because you’re not making yourself available or providing the information they need to do their job promptly.
A lack of responsiveness can severely impact their ability to generate results for you. Make sure you have a person designated to be the agency’s direct point of contact, and who can provide reasonable response times to help streamline the communications process.
The key to a successful relationship is to clearly communicate your needs, and then let the agency do what they specialize in.
But that said, you must make yourself available. Whether that involves participating in weekly update meetings, taking calls from the agency when they have questions, or just checking in to make sure they have everything they need, you’re equally responsible for carrying the communications ball. Let your agency know how you are best reached – via text, email, Slack, or phone.
Happy? Excited? Disappointed? Unenthused? Don’t keep your PR and digital marketing agency guessing how you feel. Give them honest feedback—both the good and the bad. Let them know as soon as possible so they can revisit goals and expectations, and either ramp up their efforts or make changes to meet your expectations.
If you have questions about performance, voice them early and often so the team can provide the answers you need for peace of mind. Don’t wait until something has gone so far down the rabbit hole that it can’t be retrieved or salvaged.
The people on your marketing team aren’t robots. They’re people with dreams, feelings, and killer ideas for boosting your brand. Get to know them as people, and not just an agency. Care about their aspirations. Provide them with opportunities to stretch their thinking and provide creative solutions you never before considered.
Committing to the suggestions above will provide the opportunity for an open and honest relationship with your agency, and a partnership that has the potential to grow and be successful beyond your wildest dreams.