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How to Get Better Results from Your Agency

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Gabriel Shaoolian

2016-02-18-1455831189-9725324-workingwithanagency.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-18-1455831189-9725324-workingwithanagency.jpg
In general, everyone works with a "client" in some way--we all have to answer to someone. Whether you're a B2C and you work closely with your direct consumers, or you're a B2B and you meet with clients on a regular basis, you've likely had the experience of being responsible for providing answers and meeting certain expectations.
As a business owner, on many different instances I've had the experience of working with clients or customers from all ends of the spectrum, including those who are kind and understanding, as well as those that are overly demanding or even just flat-out rude. Over time, I've accumulated a lot of valuable lessons that helped shape the way I work with my own clients, as well as when I'm on the other end of the table and am a client myself.
Here are a few tips I've put together to help you when you're working with a digital agency, and want to motivate them, and garner the best results possible for your business!
2016-02-18-1455831233-3323598-agencyclientrelationship.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-18-1455831233-3323598-agencyclientrelationship.jpg 1. Proper Expectations
Both the creation and understanding of appropriate expectations is essential for a good relationship between a client and a digital agency. When you're meeting with the people who will be working on your account, remember that they're the experts. Once you've expressed what the overarching objectives for your company are, have the agency set more specific goals and milestones for you. These specialists should know everything there is to know about the specific marketing channels that are going to serve most effective for your brand. If you go into a certain project defining exactly what you want the agency to do and don't allow any room for agency insights in the strategy, there is a good chance you won't come away with as much value as you would have otherwise.
Nothing is more frustrating than a client acting as a micro-manager with their partner agency and not allowing the agency do what they were hired for. Micromanaging a vendor, or even internal staff, doesn't motivate the people working on the project and can severely curtail the success of your account.
To get the best outcome possible from working with an agency, once you've expressed your initial objectives, have them provide you with a strategic timeline, key performance indicators, and the milestones that your project should aim to achieve. This way they will be held accountable since they've identified these points themselves. At that point, let them use their expertise to help you accomplish your goals, without micromanaging them along the way.
2. Creative Experiences
Creativity takes time. Not everything you are presented with on the first presentation will be exactly as you envisioned. Rather than losing your cool, provide the agency with constructive and concise feedback. Whenever a client sees a design that they don't like, we encourage them to give us specific detail as to what they don't like as opposed to just saying "it's not right." Generic feedback doesn't help the designer or marketer on your account create something that is closer to what you imagined.
Remember that this is a creative and collaborative experience, and that the best work sometimes takes a few attempts. Any good agency wants to make you happy and be proud of the work that they produce, so they'll work with you until its done right. It goes a lot further to be calm with criticism and highlight specific things rather than quick, generic feedback that doesn't make sense.
3. Simple Manners
Being polite can go a long way in every facet of the business world. In general, we all like to feel appreciated. If you like the work that your agency is doing, or really respect the extra effort that they are taking with a certain project simply telling them that you appreciate their work goes a long way.
You want those working on your projects to go above and beyond, and to genuinely enjoy collaborating with you. Show them you value them, and more likely than not they'll end up working harder for you. Sometimes, clients think that they can "scare" agencies into doing the best work for them by being stern and abrasive when communicating with them, but at the end of the day, the specialists working late hours are the ones that have had the most pleasant experiences with their clients.
4. Organization
A constructive and organized work environment has a direct correlation to the quality of work and effectiveness of nearly any project you're working on with a digital agency. Be concise and cohesive with the emails that you send, keep track of the tasks you've requested, and do your best to designate one person as the point of contact. Any Account Director can tell you what a nightmare it can be when they receive seemingly endless emails from different people at a given company with conflicting messages.
When it comes time to deal with responses, have one point of contact that shares everything that is going on with the internal team at your company, reviews their responses, and then compiles all of the feedback into another email back to the agency. Not only does this keep things organized, but it also allows more time for things to get done by eliminating unnecessary back and forth.
The Client Agency Relationship
When you meet with your agency, don't be afraid to ask for ideas. Always keep in mind that this is a collaborative project and that in order to be successful, there needs to be communication and input from all parties involved. If you want your projects to go in the right direction, treat the people working on your project as you would like to be treated. The best results come from the best client and agency relationships. For more information on what to expect from your digital agency, visit our blog.

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