Client-Agency: A Lifelong Marriage

In marketing, the relationship between a customer and the agency is similar to a marriage. It starts with seduction and goes on to a series of promises. Then it becomes a mutual compromise until you form an everlasting union and grow old together. That’s the dream, at least. Clients are looking for a spouse and we’re looking to put a ring on them.

That dream is nice and all, but we all know divorces are more common than we’d like to admit. The American Association of Advertising observed that in 2010 client-agency relations lasted an average of 4 years. The reasons why clients leave an agency are rarely because of an issue with the creative team. Instead, they tend to leave because of other reasons among we can find competition with innovative propositions, new challenges in the market, changes in headquarters and, the issue we’ll be addressing here, dissatisfaction.

Out of all the aspects, dissatisfaction is the one that depends on us the most. I firmly believe that a happy client is not only desirable, it’s also fairly possible to attain. The following video is a testimonial by one of my clients. The case of Bosnia is very important since we worked arduously to generate a unique value proposition to reactivate an important industry such as tourism. Indeed, with a relentless compromise to raise a country devastated by war into the world stage.

The true value of my team was reflected in the effort we put into this project, the concepts we created and our strategic, smart and efficient approach. Our work was tangible, and we created a closeness that translated into the trust and confidence reflected in the voice of Bosnia’s President, Mr. Mladen Ivanić.

As I’ve said, the relationship with a client is human at its core and, as such, it has some elements I can refer to because they’ve worked wonders for me in the past.

Know your client, get close:

A client wants a partner that loves their business as much as they do. When we manage an account we must know it deeply, be captivated by it and truly advocate for its success. We must understand the reasons behind our client’s goals and what sustains them. Integration and innovation are only possible with a profound knowledge of what we have and what we want to achieve.

Put a great deal of effort in the relationship:

The best marriages don’t come out of one date. They come about when both sides have shown to be there for one another, unconditionally. Clients expect an agency will bring their A game. They expect agencies to experiment with many ways of achieving their goals and keep their energy throughout.

Respect is essential

Clients reach out for an agency looking for a strategic partner with the will, creativity, and ability to help them speed up the way to their goals. So it’s not a surprise they expect our respect for their time, their plans and their ideas.

The client-agency relationship can and must be a respectful marriage, based on trust and a mutual interest in win-win actions. Get to know them, fall in love with their product or service, delight them with your hard work. Of all the reasons a client might have to leave your agency, dissatisfaction is undoubtedly the worst. Paradoxically, it’s the most frequent and the easiest one to avoid.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the true compromise and confidence you can provide as an agency. The length of that alliance is based upon an absolute deep and close relationship where we care for them from the most basic principles of strategy until the last details of an implementation supporting them in achieving their goals.