To establish your marketing or advertising agency above the competition, then master the art of client and agency collaboration.
You’ve probably worked with someone previously who claimed to be the best in the business but not a great communicator. That, or they were stubborn about their decisions that they failed to collaborate with anyone. In either case, it doesn’t make you excited to work with them again.
Bottom line, if you can’t collaborate effectively, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are. You’re not likely to win devoted clients anytime soon.
Collaboration is a value that many organizations claim to have, but few can effectively put into practice. Wielding it correctly can help set you apart from any competing agencies. This article will outline a few tips to make that happen.
Ways to improve your agency collaboration process
Conduct a vigorous onboarding process
A well-designed new client onboarding process is the first step toward having the best agency-client collaboration. It also lays the foundation to implement many of the other tips in this article. The onboarding process ensures that both the agency and the client are clear on:
- Project goals
- Roles and responsibilities of the agency and client’s team members
- Buyer personas for the client’s business
- Communication expectations
- Project strategy
- Reporting plan
To achieve all this and more, New Breed Marketing has what they call their Growth Acceleration Workshop:
The entire process has eight steps, culminating in a half-day workshop where the team members from the agency and the client organization introduce themselves and collaborate on a plan to move the project forward.
Is it worth the time and effort it takes to facilitate such an in-depth process? The results speak for themselves.
Amanda Neilson, an internal marketing associate for New Breed, describes one client experience:
Pwnie Express started with our Digital Onboarding workshop to define their primary buyer personas. Once we understood who we needed to attract to the website and target for conversions, we needed to understand what made these leads more qualified for a sales conversation.
After working with New Breed, Pwnie Express saw a 1,002% increase in leads generated over six months. Establishing buyer personas during New Breed’s vigorous onboarding workshop was key to achieving such results.
These results also gave Pwnie a 300% return on their investment with New Breed, so rather than terminating the relationship after the project’s completion, the client and agency continued their relationship.
Overall, New Breed is an agency that understands the value of real collaboration. Putting the value into practice has earned them a long-term customer.
Agencies that nurture client relationships are more capable of understanding what makes their client unique, then leveraging that to create and execute the best possible project.
Liquid Agency developed this sort of top-level relationship in the early stages of a rebranding project with Aruba Networks. Also, several team members from both businesses met for a full day to get to know each other better.
Developing relationships on a more personal level not only helps team members put a face to an email, but it also helps them build trust in their counterparts.
Boyd Tveit, Director of Brand Design at Liquid Agency noted that “Getting to really know people allows the relationship to move beyond role-playing into a new level of collaboration.”
Collaborate with other agencies
At first it seems counterintuitive for an agency to collaborate with another agency on a project. There’s the possibility that they might compete for the same business, after all.
However, a truly collaborative agency that knows when to bring other agencies or consultants to the table:
- Is more agile and able to adapt to new projects
- Can bring highly specialized talent to different teams
- Has their client’s best interests in mind
Some agencies base their entire business model on this principle.
Invoke Media proudly proclaims that they often work with other agencies and freelancers. According to Invoke’s founder Nicole Tongue:
We realize it is nearly impossible to employ all the skills required for today’s ever-evolving marketing technologies. Therefore, we outsource to talented freelancers who are GREAT at what they do – offering our clients a product that stands out more than any other.
Successful collaboration hinges upon frequent communication between the agency, client, and other agencies, but few things can kill productivity like digging through your inbox in search of an email chain.
Inboxes are also not designed to automatically turn messages into actionable items, increasing the chance that some tasks won’t be completed promptly or will be forgotten entirely.
To facilitate better agency and client collaboration, consider using project management software.
Trello’s Kanban-style board makes it easy to list tasks, set a due date, attach relevant documents,