Taking the time to get to know your clients, their products, their services and their ambitions is an invaluable tool when marketing their business.
It doesn’t take much, it doesn’t take long and it helps to build further rapport with your client.
Get To Know The Client’s Ambitions
The first goal is to get to know your client. Understand what drives the business forward, what they want to achieve and what their company culture is like. It doesn’t only help motivate the agency team, it is also vital in helping the agency to understand the tone to be used in any marketing activity.
The agency needs to become an extension of the clients marketing team.
Focus Your Efforts
It will often be the case that a client will want to promote a number of different products or services. However, time is precious and you don’t want to scattergun your market approach otherwise you will have little to no impact.
Work with your clients to understand all of the products and services they offer and prioritise their importance. To do this you need to begin to understand the following about each one:
Knowing the cost will help to determine target market, how the business compares to its competitors and it will help to focus the key message(s).
This will help the agency to understand how many the business has to sell to justify their investment in your agency. Don’t be afraid to ask your client about expected ROI, this is your chance to be honest and upfront about whether it is realistic or not, or to work with them to plan a strategy which will help meet that expectation.
Understanding the client’s sales cycle and lead times for their products or services helps the agency to understand whether the client is likely to get a return within the timeframe your campaign is contracted to run for. As such this will help to determine the right types of KPI for the campaign.
Existing Brand Awareness
Are you starting from scratch or already building on existing progress. This will help to determine exactly how and where your content should be positioned.
Not only does all of the above help to manage expectations correctly but it gives the client a clear idea of what you will be focusing on. Allowing them to use other marketing channels to either support your activity or focus on other areas of their business.
Leverage The Client’s Existing Network
Your client may be using your agency for its expertise and creativity in promoting a brand, product or service, but it doesn’t mean they don’t already have a vast network which you can’t utilise. Find out who they know, who you can speak to and who you can work with to increase the reach of the content you are producing.
Digital marketing campaigns always perform even better if coupled with an offline PR campaign. It’s a natural and harmonious relationship, which when combined can be extremely effective in reaching multiple markets and channels.
Take this one step further by finding out who the influencer is and communities are in the client’s marketplace and build some mutually beneficial digital friendships.
I’ve already mentioned it in passing but it is important to begin to set KPIs with your client from day one. It helps to keep the agency accountable for the work they produce, but also helps to justify the clients investment in your services.
The KPIs will vary depending on the campaign, but is also a chance for the agency and client to agree KPIs which will work within the boundaries of expectations and requirements.
Establish Your Relationship Boundaries
Your briefing day is a great opportunity to put yourself in each other’s shoes and establish what Zest call the relationship contract. This sets the boundaries and ensures the level of communication is relevant to the type of work you are doing.
“Walk a mile in the others shoes”. Get the client to act as the agency and the agency to act as the client and start brainstorming your expectations of one another. It can be as simple as including how often you speak, how quickly you expect responses to queries, and even establishing the key personnel who will be present in all meetings e.g. there will always be a decision maker.
Don’t Get Complacent
Businesses change, staff move on, products and services evolve.
Be sure to go through the process of client briefing every three to six months to ensure the campaign is fresh and still focused in the right direction.
Let Harmony Ensue
I could go in to a lot more detail on all of the above, but as a basis for building your client relationship you can’t go far wrong. Not only does it allow you to get under the skin of your client and their business, it gives you an opportunity to correctly manage expectations and set goals which will stretch you both.
Measuring The Agency’s Impact
Though ultimately measuring against KPIs is important in justifying additional budget or the continuation of a campaign, your working relationship will go as far if not further in justifying a continued relationship.
Being able to justify the agency’s impact based on the understanding of the clients business is just as valuable if not more valuable than delivering a load of numbers. An agency which spends the time understanding their client puts themselves in a better position to spot new opportunities, be creative and innovate ideas.
Finally, keep it fun! For many marketing managers working with agencies is the fun part of their job. Run your briefing days as workshops and get everyone involved, give your client a chance to meet your delivery team and feed off each others energy.
For more information about our client briefing & discovery days, and how we develop innovative digital marketing strategies for our clients, get in touch with Zest Digital today!