The relationship between agencies and clients have not been immune to the impact of COVID-19. From fewer in-person meetings to more modest budgets, agencies and clients have had to find new footing within an increasingly digital relationship. So, what are clients looking for in this newly forged relationship? The following five tenants will be critical for agencies to consider now and in the future.
Due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on most businesses, budgets need to work harder and more efficiently for clients. To ensure this happens, we have to break away from our comfort zones and be more creative than ever. This includes seeking out new, innovative platforms that will bring something new to the table. Platforms like TikTok are launching new advertising platforms that are already changing the way marketers strategize and agencies must take note BMW recently launched a car brand on TikTok for the first time in their history. The campaign was a resounding success, pulling in a stunning 27 million impressions overall and a 16.08% click-through rate, showing just how powerful expertly crafted creative can be at funnelling new users in. If agencies want to win over their clients they need to bring fresh ideas, tools and platforms to the table.
The days of leisurely lunches with clients may not be gone forever, but they certainly are not taking place right now. COVID-19 has led to smaller client teams (and agencies) which means they are wearing more hats and need to use their time more efficiently than ever before. Detailed agendas, workback schedules, and having clearly defined roles are just a few tactics that can help reduce the onus on clients to ask questions and keep your relationship running smoothly. Clients may be sympathetic with the agency challenges during the pandemic, but they will still expect us to adapt and deliver the same streamlined results they are used to.
“Knowing where you started can help determine whether or not you’ve gotten where you need to be (or if you’re on your way there),” Matt Bowen, Forbes. More than ever before, campaign budgets are being reviewed and potentially cut more than ever before. The best way to ensure campaign success is top-of-mind is with more regular reporting. The days of quarterly reports are gone and the days of monthly (if not bi-weekly) reporting are here. Using sophisticated platforms like DashThis can help visually represent data more effectively and also make collecting and reporting data even easier. Ensuring clients always know the current status of the campaign, including wins, losses, and optimizations is critical to fostering a strong client relationship.
Typically, for a proper campaign it’s best to execute a strategy for at least a year. This allows for proper strategy development, a sophisticated marketing funnel (awareness, intent, consideration, conversion), and ample time for tactical optimizations. However, with shrinking budgets and heightened expectations, clients need to see it to believe it. It’s critical for agencies to be nimble and flexible by introducing proof-of-concept periods wherein a client can see tangible results before locking into an annual retainer. This process is mutually beneficial, as it also can help agencies determine benchmarks for success and get a better understanding of the market.
Interpersonal communication has always and will continue to be the lynchpin of agency-client relationships. In 2008, a study was conducted for the Journal of Relationship Marketing to assist in the understanding of agency–client relationships at different times of the life-cycle. The results suggested clients in the very early stage of the relationship have higher ratings of who is responsible for their business rather than what the agency can do for their business. Just because we have less facetime doesn’t mean you can’t be a master of using FaceTime. Building and maintaining client relationships through meaningful connection and understanding is the framework for a successful agency-client relationship.
Are you looking for a new agency? Contact our team today to learn more about how Blue Door can take your business to the next level.
About the Author:
Aaron Lieberman is our Digital Marketing Manager at Blue Door and helps strategize, execute, and report on all digital marketing campaigns on behalf of our clients.