Think about your best personal relationships. The people who you know you can count on, no matter what. The great listeners, thoughtful responders and smart problem-solvers. The true-blue allies who you know would go to the mat for you if ever called upon. Those are real partners.
Now think about your roster of business associates. Who among them are partners? It may seem odd to extend that reasoning into your professional life, but it actually makes good business sense to consider your professional network in the same way you’d choose your close, personal advisors. Trust, open communication and mutual respect are the hallmarks of any healthy relationship, and your marketing agency is no exception.
Trust, open communication and mutual respect are the hallmarks of any healthy relationship.
As a client, do you find yourself doing the legwork on projects more often than not? Are you developing the strategies and delegating tasks to your agency, and then taking lead on follow-up? Or, does your marketing firm dutifully follow your orders, without bothering to go above and beyond what you asked for? If any of this sounds familiar, you might not have a marketing partner, but a marketing vendor.
When a mistake is made (which happens to the best of us), does your agency quickly own the problem and actively try to fix it? Or, are there excuses, finger-pointing and unresolved issues? Does your firm tell you the truth, no matter how hard it may be to bear, or do you hear “yes!” at all costs? If you’re experiencing more of the latter, once again, you might have a vendor instead of a partner.
Above all, you should enjoy your agency relationship. Meetings shouldn’t feel awkward or paint-by-numbers. Conversation and ideas should flow naturally, and you should feel like the agency’s only client. Missed deadlines, typos, unexpected costs and deliverables that don’t hit the mark are not just cause for concern, but a red flag that your agency is treating you like a number, instead of a priority.
Make no mistake, a vendor relationship works well enough for certain situations — some folks like to be in the trenches together, or prefer to have total control on every aspect of projects. However, when you have a true marketing partner, you can rest a bit easier, knowing the agency treats your affairs as an extension of its own. That trustworthy, thoroughly dependable relationship allows you to relinquish control and get out of the weeds, so you can focus on the bigger picture priorities for your organization.
When you have a true marketing partner, you can rest a bit easier, knowing the agency treats your affairs as an extension of its own.
If you’re on the lookout for a new agency, how can you tell if the firm is partner-oriented or simply focused on deliverables? Easy — just ask. Ask how they’d approach a challenge you’re facing. Ask what keeps them inspired and driven. Ask for clear expectations up front. The answers you get should go beyond a rundown of services or hourly rates. Responses should be genuine, thoughtful and customized to you, not one-size-fits-all. If the agency is like Rivetica, it will gravitate toward accountability, solutions and results.
If you’re not in a partner relationship with your agency, change it. You have too much to accomplish and time is too valuable to waste with a firm that doesn’t see your vision and know exactly what it takes to get you there.
Contact us today to learn how to select a marketing agency partner that’s right for you.