Traditional agencies are having a hard time. They’re trying to survive in a world where brands are rethinking the way they handle marketing. For starters: more in-housing; more projects/less AOR relationships; goodbye, CMO/hello, Chief Growth Officers.
Agency growth is stagnant. Heck, some great agencies are even closing their doors.
I suggest to you, gentle agency CEO, president, new business leader or discipline leader, that one way to help keep your client around and grow revenues is to help make sure the client/agency team is having an impact. The kind of thing that helps you solve the thing that keeps you and your client awake at night.
Here are a quick few hundred words on helping your CMO partner create bigger impact.
1. Re-purpose and redefine the client / agency relationship
I’m not quite sure if that consultant-speak delivers the thought. Might be better to illustrate this with as few sample questions:
- How are you helping your client understand the brand’s customers? How do you help them wear the consumer hat? How can you bring them to life inside the company? Is there a digital solution?
- How does your consumer understanding effect the make-up of things like their sales channels, regional focus or product R&D?
- How might your client brand definition work effect a client’s HR policy? How about all the other stakeholders before it gets to consumers?
- When and how is your agency involved in new client initiatives? Who’s in the room on the client side?
- What services might you competently supply that would get other people in that room?
All agencies deliver business or brand results. Fewer agencies deliver thinking, ideas and services that move beyond marketing communication. Moving beyond just making ads is a great revenue growth strategy.
2. Merchandise and market the results of the client / agency partnership
Said in another way, this is helping your client sell-in and sell-through your team’s work throughout his or her organization. That’s a fairly broad idea, but I think it’s clear. The sometimes political, internal stakeholder work that all clients and prospective clients must do to justify marketing’s existence. Not to mention their own jobs. Here are some thought-starters:
- Internal stakeholder-only digital newsletter that highlights the department’s initiatives / celebrates the brand
- A paragraph or two (written for an internal audience) on the basics of work (what/why/when/how)
- Demonstrating marketing and branding thought leadership via industry/target best practice sharing
- A client/agency only digital destination capturing the team’s understanding of the target
- Making sure the “why we advertise” presentation is ready to go (which alone will help course-correct)
- Sharing positive trade press or consumer reaction to the work
Anywho, I hope this gets you to expand your thinking around the relationship agencies typically enjoy with their clients. Having had the privilege of working on two long standing client/agency partnerships, I can tell you it’s the above kind of thinking that leads to happier, more productive and valuable relationships.
Thanks. And happy thinking!