DMNews asks five top agency executives what they wish marketers knew about working with a direct or digital agency – that they typically don’t
Agencies are more passionate than you think
I think clients should know (but often don’t) that their agency partners are some of their most passionate brand advocates. Any time a team in any agency works for a particular client, they just can’t help it – they all become crazed, loyal consumers or advocates of that client’s brand, products or services. Whether it’s your cars, sneakers, credit cards or macaroni and cheese, I really can’t think of an exception. Like all people, we love to belong. And we bore our loved ones, strangers in the subway and colleagues any time we hear you mentioned, as we explain proudly: “We work with them!”
-Seth Solomons, global CMO, Digitas
Data will set you free
Agencies and clients both thrive when they share ownership of the business challenge, marketing strategy and creative product. Clients should challenge their agencies to provide long-term business solutions, not just creative product. If given data and the freedom to interrogate it, agencies can discover innovative insights that deliver value in a motivating and compelling way. As a result, clients will receive uncommon results – both for the business and the relationship.
-Amanda Gosling, SVP, management director, Draftfcb New York
State your intentions
Agencies want their work to be aligned closely with their clients’ desired business outcomes. However, only some clients share specific business objectives with their agencies and even fewer spend time reviewing the performance outcome of a brand or line of business in an ongoing, systemic way. Agencies are quite passionate about the companies we collaborate with, well beyond the work or the communications programs themselves. When clients clearly state their business objectives, the agency can more effectively design programs and track performance against their requirements. With a clear goal, we can meet their objectives sooner and more productively.
-Becky Chidester, president, Wunderman New York
Embrace the partnership
Your best agency partner is one that knows their business well – not just the advertising or the direct/digital response strategy, but all parts of their business (how does the business operate, who are the client’s everyday partners, what is the culture and the work environment like). As an agency, this helps us understand what our clients’ goals and challenges are. This type of engagement allows an agency to better develop strategies and tactics that take into consideration business realities – both internal and external. You hear agencies say all the time that they want to be a client’s partner. Clients that understand this get much stronger thinking from their agency and much more engaged agency teams.
-Nancy Grebey, managing director, financial services, G2 Direct & Digital
Optimize what has been discovered/measured
What clients don’t realize is that optimization is a necessary part of the measurement mix. Most think that measurement alone will gain results. But, they have to be willing to optimize or else there will be little to no improvement in ROI. Net-net, measurement without optimization, isn’t worth a client’s time.
-Marita Scarfi, COO, Organic