How to avoid 'that' call

How to avoid 'that' call
SHARE
THIS



As an agency MD, there is one call that you dread.  The ‘we need to talk’ call.

Want to know something? Clients actually dread making that call, almost as much as you do taking it (almost, I said). That’s because an agency review is highly disruptive; time consuming; and ultimately risky. 

So, what are the pain points, and what can be done to avoid taking that call?

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council in the US recently released a study examining, amongst other things, the state of client – agency relationships. Their report was based on responses from over 250 stakeholders involved in the Agency relationship management, performance evaluation, and procurement process.

The top five contributors to stress and strain in their Agency relationships, in order, were:

1.  The lack of an agreed-upon set of analytics and metrics that define success and failure.  (Only 42% of respondents reported having a formal scorecard for rating Agency performance, and only half of these have developed best-practice models for client/agency relationship management).

2.  Limited knowledge and comprehension of the client’s business.

3.  Lack of value-added strategic thinking.

4.  Pricing and budgeting issues.

5.  Integration of marketing plans and services.

These issues are not US-centric. They mirror what clients are telling us, and their Agencies, here as well.  So what can be done from an agency perspective to address these pain points, and help avoid that call?

Agree. Assess. Action. Define what success looks like in the relationship.  Too many Agency relationships are grounded in ambiguity. Without some sort of formal structure in place, how do you know what your clients actually want and need from you?  And more importantly, how well you are performing?

As an agency, you should insist on having your performance critically reviewed, as you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Or, as one Agency Principal told us recently – “data trumps intuition”.

Immerse yourself in your client’s business. Clients who have enduring relationships with their Agencies talk about how they eat, breathe and sleep their Brands.  And while this is nothing new, nor revolutionary, this attachment to a client’s business seems to be a diminishing trait.  At least that’s what clients are telling us.

Replace Proactivity with Anticipation.  Anticipation is steadily being valued over proactivity. Proactivity conjures up visions of decks; the killer presentation; an event of epic proportions. 

But more often than not, these lack the insight and the actionability to actually contribute to a client’s business.  Anticipation, however, provides a daily opportunity to do so. To provide smaller, but more consistent and meaningful contributions. To help a client who might be so bogged down with just getting through today that they may not be able to focus on tomorrow, next week, or next year.

Treat your Client’s money as if it were your own. Again, a mantra as old as the business itself, but with the increasing financial pressures clients face, it is more important than ever.  Where it used to be an annoyance, it is now increasingly a genuine threat to the relationship.

Play nice.  Integration is a lagging indicator, with the leading indicator being collaboration.  Integration happens through successful collaboration, whereas disintegration happens when Agencies try to protect their turf. Is it any surprise that those agencies that score highest on collaboration also tend to have the greatest influence with their clients?

John Costello, chief global customer and marketing officer of Dunkin Brands summed it up nicely in the study: “I think the most successful client/agency relationships are based on clear objectives, collaboration, open communications, and mutual respect”.

Wise counsel for those wanting to dodge that call.

Jeff Estok is managing partner at Navigare

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Women’s Health Unveils Its New Premium Digital Experience
  • Media

Women’s Health Unveils Its New Premium Digital Experience

Pac Mags’ Women’s Health has unveiled an all-new premium digital experience. With a faster, cleaner, more intuitive and visually consistent brand experience across all devices, the new look is designed to optimise the user’s journey with less clutter, discoverable content and seamless integration for commercial partners. Will Everitt, head of product and technology said: “The digital evolution of […]

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins

Independent agency Inlight has announced it has won the digital account for Benetas, a not-for-profit aged care provider in Victoria. Following a competitive pitch process, Inlight was chosen to handle Benetas’ new website design, build and ongoing optimisation. Richard Barker, marketing manager at Benetas, said: “We wanted an agency that could be our true digital […]

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Marketing

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

With almost 30 awards handed out, B&T predicts plenty of numb bottoms at last night's AMI Awards in Melbourne.

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits
  • Advertising

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits

Sure, B&T flashed the news of Andy Pontin quitting this morning. White lies aside, he's actually still got six months.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record
  • Advertising
  • Media

Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record

B&T's journo is reporting live from the annual Adobe Summit in Vegas. Although, "reporting" is somewhat of a stretch.

Opinion

by David Hovenden

David Hovenden
Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams

Disney and ESPN have formed an even closer bond, announcing a new alignment of the two properties through their media sales and partnerships teams. Instead of entering through three doors, Disney ESPN Media Sales & Partnerships will give media buyers and marketers a refined, singular point of entry for Disney, ESPN Digital and Maker. Nik […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends

Sydney-based adtech start-up Muzaara has announced a new strategic partnership with performance marketing platform Commission Factory. Together, Muzaara and Commision Factory are providing SMEs with a secret weapon to skyrocket their online brand visibility and effectively manage and maximise their online advertising campaigns. This partnership will allow both online marketing companies and their impressive roster […]

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard

Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has joined forces with Shazam and digital agency Orchard to deliver a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) Halloween Trick or Treat experience for families. The campaign, which leverages Shazam’s visual recognition platform and recently-launched AR platform, sees Kellogg’s pilot the replacement of physical gifts in cereal packs with a digital experience that […]

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency
  • Advertising

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency

Kraft Heinz today confirmed the appointment of Cummins&Partners as its new Creative agency after an extensive pitch process. They will be responsible for brand strategy and integrated creative across the expanding Kraft Heinz portfolio including Kraft, Heinz and Golden Circle. A Kraft Heinz spokesperson said: “After an exhaustive search involving a competitive pitch, we have made […]

Patrick Delany (CEO, Fox Sports), Hugh Marks (CEO, Nine Entertainment Co), Miranda Devine (Columnist, News Corp), Michael Miller (Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia), Grant Blackley (CEO & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo) at Radio Alive 2017
  • Media

Media Bosses Weigh In On Ten-CBS Deal

Do you enjoy articles featuring industry big-wigs? Well, it doesn't come much bigger and wiggier than this, we say.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy
  • Marketing

Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy

Melbourne-based market research consulting agency T Garage has announced the appointment of Ali Dexter as its director of insights and strategy. Dexter joins T Garage from Kantar TNS, where she was the director of its Qualitative division. Prior to that, Dexter held a number of senior roles at Kantar TNS in the US and Vietnam.  “After […]

XXXX on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Adobe)
  • Advertising

Adobe Releases Advertising Cloud App

Not one, but two Adobe announcements. The tech elves have been busy this week, not that we're inferring Adobe is Santa.