In part two of this blog series, “What Your Client Wants From Her Agency,” (Part 1, “Put Yourself in My Shoes”), we went again to the source (our clients) to build a top 10 list of the things that matter most when they engage with partners and vendors.

1. KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE.

I like to imagine that I’m your only client (Haha! A girl can dream, can’t she?) and that after every call you sit around and brainstorm about my unique and very exciting business and marketing challenges. Please don’t burst my bubble. It makes me feel special.

2. BRAINSTORM NEW IDEAS.

Serve up fresh concepts that challenge the status quo and get us ahead. Package up and pitch a new idea periodically at no cost. You had ideas for days when pitching this work. Keep ‘em coming! It’s a great biz dev tactic for you and a potential win for me.

3. KEEP MY TEAM INTACT.

I get it, you put your A-team on my account in the early days, in hopes we would fall in love with their brilliance and stellar account service. Guess what? It worked. So, please keep your A-team on my account, and that’s how I’ll know you really value my company and me as clients.

4. KNOW WHEN TO IDEATE AND WHEN TO EXECUTE.

Don’t be afraid to go bold. I love it when you go above and beyond (that’s one of the reasons I hired you). But keep in mind, I serve many masters over here in the corporate world, and there are times my back is against a wall, and I just need to order it up, execution style.

5. HELP ME PROJECT MANAGE.

Let me clarify: I want you to help me manage my projects in ways that help me accomplish the best outcomes for my business, and that may differ from the way you manage projects internally to run the agency efficiently. The better you understand the way projects run internally around here, the more you can help me.

6. PUSH BACK, BUT PICK YOUR BATTLES.

I want to be challenged by my agency partners, and I count on your expertise and guidance on strategy and creative. But not every battle is worth fighting, and don’t hesitate to ask me about my (and my internal stakeholders’) tolerance for reinvention on any particular project.

7. SHARE THE BIGGER PICTURE.

If you work with other clients in my industry and especially if you work with other divisions of my company, you likely know things I don’t. Plus, you’re doing research and staying current on trends, right? Keep me informed, leverage your insights, and don’t assume I know everything going on in other departments of my own company.

8. WORK WITH ME.

Not in a “hey, work with me on this” way, but as in, “adapt to my work style” (although that’s also very cool and covered in this blog post pretty thoroughly). Work with me and alongside me at every step. Let’s collaborate! Don’t go dark and then hurl round one over the wires absently. Work like we are in this together.

9. BE FLEXIBLE.

You have a process. I love processes as much as the next guy, but not when it starts to feel rigid. After all, there is no one-size-fits all set of projects, and I’d like to imagine you’ll create a custom project plan that fits my needs. Plus, I don’t want to feel like I’m doing back flips or compromising on budget or quality to fit a process.

10. BE NICE.

Be sensitive to the challenges I face in my role, and I want to understand what your team needs to be successful. Know that I am not out to make your lives miserable, and I want a win for everyone (that’s covered in another blog post, "Why Nice Wins").

Kari Olivier worked in various corporate marketing roles before migrating to the agency side. Kari is a writer, workshop facilitator, marketing strategist, and advisor to leaders at Fortune 500 companies and SMBs. She is co-founder of Jute Creative, a branding, marketing and communications agency in Portland, Oregon.


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Agency-Client Relationship, Client Services, Creative agency, Jute Creative, Portland, Thought leadership

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