It takes two sides to make music
The client has a role to play too. Yes, you are paying out of your profits for the service. Yes, you are the client and should feel important (you are!). But like any relationship, it’s going to work best if both sides are working hard at it.
Trouble is, the agency seems to be magical right now and is driving hard with all the actions and probably, unbeknownst to you, “training” you to be a good source of rich information to fuel the campaign. Its easy to fall into that trap that says the box is ticked I trust the agency to be doing it and it all seems to be looking after itself.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If the agency is good I mean, really good then they know youll be impressed and they will anticipate that you may be prone to leaving them to get on with it. They will already have reached into your organisation and got their hooks into other key people that can help them get the information they need (without you needing to invest the same levels of activity) to keep the campaign alive and charging ahead.
The agency may seem like magicians, but they can’t do this without you. The old adage of “the more you put in, the more you get out” applies here. They may not need the honeymoon level of loving, but it won’t work if you dont go to the dance anymore.
Keeping that sparkle alive takes hard work from both sides and not just on the first few dates; an agency must truly appreciate you throughout the courtship and beyond.
Its essential that you are important to their payroll so rightsizing your agency remains paramount. But more than that, it takes a blend of slightly OCD agency professionals, hell bent on making the clients business a success all the time, mixed with a client willing to turn up for romantic meals and occasionally bringing flowers going that extra mile to help energise the campaign and stay involved.
Dont ask an agency what they are like to work with at the outset. If they arent fun and interesting then there really is no hope. Ask an agency (or more specifically their longer term clients) what it’s like to be in a relationship with them. If their clients report back that the sparks are still flying after a year, it’s probably a match made in heaven.
Ashley Carr is the founder of Neo PR.