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Lessons From the Election to Apply to Your Next Agency Search

by Pile and Company, Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What can be gleaned from this year's presidential race? Surprisingly, there are a few lessons from the election that can be applied to your next agency search.

Check out Dan's article in Ad Age on how, similar to picking a new president, clients must look beyond the glitz and glamour during a pitch.

10 Ways to Make An Agency Transition Better

by Judy Neer, Thursday, November 05, 2015

Agency transitions are difficult, and dare we say, painful at times. But it's in an agency's (and client's) best interest to make the move as seamless as possible.

Judy and Dan share how to end client-agency relationships on good terms in Ad Age.

How to Avoid Being the Incumbent in a Review

by Meghan McDonnell, Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Does anyone really want to be the incumbent in a review?

Meghan shares six ways agencies can keep their client relationships in good stead, and maybe even keep themselves out of a review. 

Check it out in Ad Age.

Making Your Next Client-Agency Meeting a Home Run

by Judy Neer, Thursday, July 09, 2015

There are few things better than a home-run meeting between a client and agency. In advertising at least.

Check out Judy's Ad Age article on the four questions to ask to help ensure the success of your next meeting.

BETTER CLIENT-AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS ONE BENCHMARK AT A TIME

by Judy Neer, Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Is my relationship with the agency strong? Am I getting what I paid for?

At any point in a client/agency partnership, a client should be able to ask these two questions and quickly ascertain the state and health of their relationship. Seems simple enough. The caveat, of course, is that answering these questions requires goals and objectives. Goals and objectives established at the start of the relationship, and then actively managed after the pitch is over. 

In our work with clients and agencies on agency search and performance evaluation, we’ve found that the absence of clear, mutually agreed upon benchmarks is often at the center of strained partnerships. Because in the thick of the day-to-day business, questions arise:

  • Is the agency team overstaffed or understaffed?
  • Is the creative fresh?
  • What constitutes a campaign “win?”
  • How is the agency being measured relative to our corporate goals?
  • Are we productive and efficient?

And without clearly defined objectives, these questions can yield a variety of answers depending on whom you ask, or perhaps even worse, remain unanswered.

With today’s marketing pressures and the rise of procurement’s role in agency management, confirming objectives for both the relationship and investment sides of your client/agency partnership is critical. Great relationships are built on trust—trust that is earned by delivering against your promises. So instead of being stumped by the questions above, consider the following:

  • Alignment of agency compensation with client business goals
  • Creative briefing best practices to avoid multiple changes due to lack of understanding around assignments 
  • A sound contact strategy to quell frustration and confusion around client/agency communication

These are just a few examples. Expectations around brand metrics, sales metrics, media value delivery and market share can also be in the mix. Specific measures will vary from one partnership to another. The larger point is that no one should assume both parties understand where they need to go, how they are being measured and what success looks like without a roadmap. And if procurement is involved, tap them early. Engaging procurement after an agency has been chosen can lead to retrofitted solutions, and disputes between clients and agencies that didn’t need to occur.

The tenure of client/agency partnerships is shrinking. Agency reviews, while at times necessary, are costly and disruptive. Taking the time to solidify relationship and investment goals from the start, and benchmarking against them once the agency is selected, avoids unnecessary reviews, motivates teams on both sides and fosters longer, more valuable partnerships.

This post is co-authored by Judy Neer and Dan Jeffries.

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