The Fine Art of the Client/Agency Relationship

Posted by Patrick Sherry

In the ever-changing world of marketing, success is deeply rooted in the client/agency relationship. And like any relationship, this one requires some good ‘ole fashion TLC.

Choosing the right agency (and client!) can be a fun yet tedious process. In some cases, an agency’s capabilities may meet all of the client’s needs. On the other hand, the client could be exactly what the agency has been searching for, but as we all know just because something appears perfect on paper doesn’t make it a perfect fit.

This selection process requires more than a couple of checked boxes, and it should. After all, this is a relationship that you’ll spend a lot of time fostering and proper chemistry is paramount to making it an enjoyable experience for both parties.

But let’s say you noticed a spark and decided to make a move (i.e. the partnership has been established). Now it’s time to date and get to know each other a little better. This is a great time to sharpen those selective listening skills and gain some valuable insight into how the other likes to work and play. Your goal should be to develop mutual respect and trust—proving that, as an agency, you have the client’s best interest at heart. So work to challenge the client to think differently, push them to answer questions they’ve never thought to address internally, and position yourself as an extension of the client’s marketing team—not just a vendor.

Sounds easy, right? Sometimes it is. Sometimes the dating phase is short, sweet and followed by years of love, great work and celebrations of success. Other times it’s hard and takes some extra work, and that’s ok.  Just remember, you’re in the trenches together and the most effective solutions will be found as a team.

The most prosperous partnerships rarely become successful without a little effort. But where there’s reliability, respect and commitment, there’s an opportunity to weather the storm.