15 Ways to Get the Best Out of your Agency. (Pts 6-10)

James Payne – Creative Director  

Missed the first five points? Check it out: http://www.ausgarage.com.au/15-ways-to-get-the-best-out-of-your-agency/

6) Don’t strain your advertising through too many levels.

Sometimes the greatest ideas are elegantly simple. It is much like the movie “Inception”, great campaigns focus around planting a simple yet effective idea and letting that grow with your target audience. Allow your audience to make that message their own, relate it to their experiences and thus respond to your key message.

Do you know the best way to ruin a simple strong campaign idea? 9 times out of 10 running it through multiple levels of staff and committees will do the trick. You want opinions, you want to value your staff/board but ultimately you want feedback that will help make your advertising more effective. Consult with your departments, see what issues they face in the market place and compile them prior to commencing the campaign. Ultimately, when it comes to final review. Let the decision be made by yourself or your marketing manager. Make your feedback prompt and concise then let your agency do the hard work and stand behind their product.

7) Make sure that your agency makes a profit

This is a simple one. Whilst agencies will fight for your business during an initial pitch, if they are running at a loss on your account the shine quickly wears off. Whether your account has high billables or not you want your agency on whole (as well as the individuals in it) to enjoy working on your account. The difference between truly effective advertising and not is very rarely down to working “harder” or “longer”. It comes down to passionate creatives investing the emotional and creative energy into great work. If your agency is doing their job they are making you money, it is in everyone’s best interest for both parties to prosper.

On a side note: From experience, if your agency runs on any model that pays a percentage of your ad spend to cover their creative services, it is time to question that. (ie % kickback from media organisation to place an ad) You don’t want there to be any incentive for your agency to promote you raising ad spend unnecessarily. Pay them correctly for their work and get honest, unbiased advice when it comes to ad spend on any campaign. (This does change when it comes to management of PPC campaigns)

8) Don’t haggle with your agency

This is a great time to look internally. Your products and services took years to develop and master. Your team learn and improve daily. Advertising is no different. Each medium changes rapidly, audiences react differently, and production methods change as quick as the technology they rely on.

Whether you like it or not, a successful agency/client relationship requires both organisations to work as a team. You both have the exact same goal, for your business to succeed! During the pitch process you negotiate on dollar figures. It is good practice to have set review periods for pricing, services etc. In between, don’t haggle with your agency. It is a waste of both parties’ time, resources and is a great way to kill morale of what could be your businesses most crucial relationship.

9) Be candid, and encourage candour

Your relationship with your agency can be the difference between success and failure. That doesn’t mean everything has to be rainbows and unicorns though. Mistakes are made, briefs are missed and sometimes you are just on a different page. It is critically important that you speak to your agency with complete honesty. If you receive draft work and note something wrong, let them know quickly and concisely the problem and importantly, why it is a problem. Don’t let them waste time and money guessing what you want and don’t let fear of upsetting the agency hold you back from getting exactly what you need out of your campaigns. This candour will encourage your agency to reciprocate meaning more effective campaigns, better value and better relationships during the good and bad times. Provide accurate feedback based on tangible effects that can be seen in your business not based on your personal emotion or what your friend thought of the campaign.

Side note: This is not an opportunity to play mind games with your agency. No one wins out of this situation. You have hired the agency to help your business, they need positive results for your business to thrive themselves. Speak with absolute honesty, remove the emotion and work together to constantly find solutions to your business problems.

10) Set high standards

No one is more passionate about your business then you. Let your agency know your goals and stay committed to achieving them. If your campaigns are set around small tasks that give you the satisfaction of “value” at the expense of big result campaigns, then it is time to revaluate your approach. It is cheaper and easier in the age of digital marketing to have your daily jobs done in house. Work on the “big stuff” with your agency. Hold them to it and settle for nothing less than the best you can both achieve at the time. (within time/budget constraints) Sell your passion and motivation to your agency, at the end of the day they must sell that very same thing to your entire audience. There is an art to this however, a balance that needs to be maintained for everyone’s sake. You need to be very critical of all work to ensure only the best is produced, that means you need to be just as generous with your accolades.

To create truly amazing campaigns you can never settle, you can also never forget to celebrate the wins!

Points 11-15 coming soon.

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