What's in this article?

The Agency–Client Relationship
The Trustworthy Agency Checklist

Do you trust us? You should and we hope you do. Still, it’s not always as easy to walk the walk as it is to talk the talk. Sometimes us agencies need to trust that clients trust us. In other words, the digital marketing agency–client relationship is a delicate thing.

Sure the advertising world is complex, but we can all agree that if we’re going to have good productivity, good client management, and produce good content and web design, we’ve got to trust each other.

Of course, we wouldn’t just tell you to trust us without some evidence to back it up. If we look at the data there are some points agencies and clients agree on, and some they don’t.

The Agency–Client Relationship

According to a wide-ranging RPA survey conducted a couple years ago, 98% of both camps agree that mutual trust leads to the best creative work and consequently the best marketing. However, there are other areas where agencies and clients haven’t always seen eye to eye.

Communication Issues

While businesses need to communicate effectively every day to make and sell products and marketing agencies exist to communicate effectively with consumers, it’s not always clear we’re speaking the same language.

RPA’s survey found 88% of clients felt they spoke plainly about their business situation and client needs. However, only 36% of surveyed agencies agreed. If an agency is going to help solve a client problem, we’ve got to discuss it without pretense. Remember, marketers are here to solve your weaknesses, not tease you for them.

Creative Process

Still, a communication mismatch can go further than discussing the client brief. The same survey notes that two out of three respondents don’t think agencies and clients are on the same page when it comes to what “creativity” means. This can have a big impact, not only on trust but on the work and its effectiveness.

Often the most important part of the creative is what can’t be seen. The agency process, its research, and its testing are the unsung heros to creative that wins over consumers and grows sales. Clients can help by trusting an agency’s methodology will improve customer targeting and create business-changing work.  

Strategic Risk Taking

Sometimes, the best creative — based on those research findings and user tests — is a little out of left field. Again, clients need to have faith in the process. No agency wants to risk your business for a wacky idea for its own sake. Agency recommendations that appear risky to a client may represent a strategic risk that will get you to the next level. Again, trust is key.

Business Growth

One reason we find businesses aren’t always ready to take a risk is that clients and agencies don’t see eye to eye on the potential payoff. In the RPA survey, clients estimated that great agency work could improve their business results by 26%. When agencies have the room and resources to do their homework, they say that same creative can improve business results by 48%.

In other words, clients have roughly half the confidence as agencies that digital marketing can have a dramatic impact on business success. Again, it often comes back to trust. Only 44% of client survey respondents said their agency put solving their problems ahead of selling ideas. It makes one wonder what went wrong in the other 56% of cases.

Clearly, the responsibility for a great relationship just isn’t on you, the client. If your agency isn’t delivering, isn’t communicating, is careless, or is otherwise not solving your problems, you don’t have very good reason to trust them. However, we’d suggest you partner with an agency you do trust. Rest assured; it will help your business.

If you’re still not sure what to look for, we’ve created this handy checklist.

The Trustworthy Agency Checklist

  1. Communication Skills – It’s key that you find an agency that communicates clearly and effectively with you and that you feel comfortable confiding in. Judge agencies by their communication expertise above all else. That is the main skill you’re buying.
  2. Creative Process – You may not start out with the same definition of what creativity is, but by the time you’re working together, make sure you and your agency are on the same page. Look for a firm with good client management and a transparent process.
  3. Strategic Reassurance — Your agency may suggest you take strategic risks to reach your business goals. But focus on how those risks are presented to you and whether you feel confident and reassured that the payoff would be worthwhile. That’s the sign of a good agency.
  4. Growth Confidence – A great agency should gain your trust in small ways all throughout the process. You should get the sense their primary concern is your primary concern — solving your present business problems and working towards attaining business growth.
  5. Promises Delivered –  The trust an agency gains often depends on whether they deliver on their promises. A great agency knows their strengths. They don’t try to be all things to all people. Look for an agency whose strengths match your needs for best results.

Considering hiring a trustworthy digital marketing agency to help your business reach its next goal? Call us at 313-338-9515 or email hello@kaleidico.com to learn how Kaleidico’s full-service digital agency can help.

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