Despite on the surface being a mutually beneficial relationship, the agency-client relationship within the online marketing industry can often be flawed, one-sided, or just plain unfair.
This is why there are several, clearly defined factors that should be considered by both parties when engaging in these business practices.
But what makes a good agency-client relationship, and what is the most critical factor to consider?
Types Of Agency-Client Relationships
When we talk about modern online advertising, there are various forms of relationships that agencies and clients can enter into.
It could be a paid partnership, where agencies or parent companies strike deals with the owners of popular websites and blogs to attract new customers from their readership.
This can be in the form of featured ads on their website or blog, or it could be in form of product placement and advertising through other means, such as a podcast or Youtube channel.
These are ever common in the modern marketplace, especially within the rich and diverse podcasting community, and this is one of the main ways that companies stay relevant, gain traction, and how podcasters can make profit.
Client Requested Campaigns
It could of course be the traditional kind of relationship, wherein a prospective client approaches an advertising agency and pays them to create a successful campaign for their product, service, or brand.
This is the most common form, and is what the marketing industry is built upon, continuing into the online era with the advent of banner ads, dynamic advertising, and paid campaigns.
Establishing A Beneficial Relationship
When it comes to establishing a beneficial relationship, there are several things that are important to remember for long term success and financial gain.
Most relationships, be them romantic or business based, will soon crumble to dust without proper, clear, and honest communication.
This means that both parties – the client and the agency – need to practice honesty and proper communication with one another if they are to continue to work towards the same goal, which in almost all cases is financial success.
This means that agencies need to be honest about the limitations of a client’s ideas, not to mention the successes and failures that their campaign strategies are yielding.
The client also needs to express any concerns, or deliver praise when it is deserved.
Communication, in many ways, is the most critical factor of a good business relationship, and the sheer importance can be made clear when you consider how bad things would go for both parties without the clear exchange of factual information.
Trust is obviously important in any kind of relationship, and business is exactly the same.
For the client to have faith and invest their future and money in an advertising agency, then they need to trust the company and have confidence in their ability to deliver.
Likewise, for an advertising agency to take on a client’s contract, they need to not only have faith that the project has legs, but that client is also committed to going the distance along with them.
There are of course many ways that trust can be established.
Communication can be a great way to achieve this funnily enough, as can forming personal relationships with clients or agents – something that can be done with regular meetings, informal lunches, or merely through an informal communication style.
Trust can also be established through a shared goal, and as the point of these advertising contracts is for both parties to prosper, drawing attention to this and establishing shared mini-goals can be a great way to foster trust.
Of course, there also needs to be a degree of faith in the process, taking into account and accepting that ultimately, all advertising is a gamble, and that success is based on consumer spending habits.
These habits can fluctuate depending on the time of year, the financial climate, and the nature of the business venture you are working together on, and accepting that success can come in ebbs and flows is a good way of having realistic expectations, and creating a more trusting, mutually beneficial working relationship.
Ultimately, having clear expectations is important, be it in agreed practices, remunerations, or even the direction a campaign is going.
What Are The Benefits?
There are many benefits to establishing long term agency-client relationships.
With long term relationships, and shared, consistent successes, comes a sense of loyalty – both on the part of the client and the agency.
Agencies will develop lucrative relationships with favored clients, and likewise, clients are more likely to bring repeat business to agencies that they trust and feel comfortable working with.
Reduced Marketing Cost
From the perspective of the agency, a stable client base means they don’t need to give as much time and money to marketing, as the successful products or services can sustain themselves for the most part.
On the part of the client, having an established advertising agency means they don’t have to start from scratch, meaning that any future endeavors can be approached from a running start, as opposed to the slower starts usually associated with new startups.
Networking & Testimonials
Each component of the relationship can also effectively become a brand ambassador for the other party.
The advertising agency can promote the client and their wares at networking events, and likewise, the client can recommend the agency to their friends and colleagues – thus drumming up extra business.
This is when a simple business relationship becomes a strong, sustainable collaboration, which can prove more fruitful.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about agency-client relationships, and the most critical factors in establishing long lasting, fruitful partnerships.
Communication and trust are incredibly important, and can make the difference between achieving success, and a working relationship that yields nothing but misery and stress.
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