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 In Media Profile: Danni Wright
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Danni Wright

We'd be headlining Danni Wright's Women in Media profile the "Wright stuff" if it wasn't utterly predictable and naff.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Industry Generates A Record $10.5m For Social Impact
  • Media

Industry Generates A Record $10.5m For Social Impact

UnLtd, the media, marketing and creative industry’s social purpose organisation has announced a total industry contribution of $10.5m to social impact in FY18. The total value of funds, services, inventory and time donated by the media, marketing and creative industry increased by 21per cent compared to the previous financial year due to a growth in […]

Posterscope Promotes Two
  • Media

Posterscope Promotes Two

Posterscope, Dentsu Aegis Network’s specialist out-of-home agency, has promoted Ryan Hedditch to the newly created position of national head of strategy and Samantha Summers to Sydney Group Business Director. In his new role, Hedditch is charged with driving the continual improvement and transformation of the Posterscope offering to clients and partners. Summers’ promotion will see her lead […]

Outbrain Accelerates Growth With APAC Promotions
  • Media

Outbrain Accelerates Growth With APAC Promotions

Native discovery platformOutbrain has announced several movements in its regional leadership team, with plans to make more new hires. This comes on the heels of two senior appointments it made in February, after closing a record year in the region with expansion into new markets. Yoav Tourel has been promoted to head of sales for […]

Clems Syd & Extra GUM Unveil YouTube Digital Stage
  • Media

Clems Syd & Extra GUM Unveil YouTube Digital Stage

YouTube EXTRA Gum has launched EXTRA Support Acts, a program created to support Australia’s up and coming musicians by transforming pre-roll ads on YouTube into a digital support stage. It has been created in partnership with Clemenger BBDO Sydney as creative lead, Universal Music Australia and BRING for talent and music strategy and content, MediaCom and YouTube. The […]

OMD Australia Tops 2018 RECMA Rankings
  • Media

OMD Australia Tops 2018 RECMA Rankings

OMD Australia has taken the top spot for Australia’s Number 1 media agency in size, according to RECMA’s 2018 ‘Overall Activity Volume Rankings’ report released last week. Additionally, the company was named first in profile classification with a dominant profile for the 3rd consecutive year, along with vitality ranking and structure ranking. Furthermore, OMD Australia was also named […]

Nine Appoints Editor For 9Honey
  • Media

Nine Appoints Editor For 9Honey

B&T's editor coincidentally spilled honey on his shirt while typing this. And by typing, we mean copy and pasting.

Y&R Sydney Scores Best&Less   
  • Advertising
  • Media

Y&R Sydney Scores Best&Less  

Y&R wins Best&Less amid rumours the clothing shop its changing name to 'Somewhat OK&Reasonably cheap'.

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay

B&T's Women in Media profiles are like a wave washing over you. Even more so if an actual wave washes over you.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)

In this opinion piece, SalesPreso co-founder and CMO Joel Thomson (pictured below) explains how B2B companies can use their data more effectively and deliver a personalised customer experience that matches their B2C counterparts. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the EU’s recent GDPR legislation, this year has prompted individuals all over the world to consider […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

Not one to rest on its laurels, M&C Saatchi unveils new production studio it hasn't called 'Not One To Rest On Laurels'.

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning, Melbourne-based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their clients. […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.