Before you engage an agency, or if you already have, then I would invite you to consider the kind of relationship you have with that agency.
Do you send a few emails each month? Is it transactional? Are you on the phone several times a day with lots of urgent requests? Or have you found a suitable balance of communication that allows you to feel on top of your marketing output and still allows your agency time to do their best work for you? If it’s the former then you might not be talking enough, or perhaps too much to create the best environment for improved results.
The role of an Account Manager is to help achieve the ideal balance.
A good level of communication is mostly predictable; regular scheduled calls – perhaps monthly for the bigger performance-related conversations, weekly for the workflow update and quarterly for adjusting and optimising against 1-5 year strategic plans. If you have a clear set of goals, and a regular flow of time to discuss those plans, then those urgent crisis calls should be greatly reduced. This in turn allows both sides to focus on what’s going to bring in the revenue; the customers.
The agenda for those conversations should be thought about too – a clear set of needs from both sides laid out, notes and follow-ups and deadlines for accountability. We find our best and most inspiring relationships and therefore work, comes from a steady and insightful flow of information and ideas and a freedom for honesty from both parties. From a client’s point of view, they need to understand what the agency is working on, the projected output, results, learnings and ways to optimise those findings. From an agency point of view, we need time to think properly for you. We need commercial data to make projections, we need to know KPIs and business aims to plan the strategy and we need consistent commercial input and feedback to understand and improve those results.
Simply put, it is a partnership. The more information we have the better, and in some cases, we can’t move forward without it.
We use onboarding days to learn about your business and use marketing calendars of key dates and market peaks to assign work against which is a good start, but that flow of information should be forthcoming and consistent throughout the relationship and not just at the beginning. Your Account Manager will take that information and apply it to the decisions we make on a daily basis about how to get the best return on your investment. It informs things like where we assign budget, which areas of the website to focus on, how to sculpt the language of brand and product messaging and which areas we need more research on – and most importantly, how it’s all doing, and what value it is bringing to the bottom line.
When your agency knows and understands your industry, business, and everything you know about your customer right now to build upon, the strategy is more targeted, and results are better.
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