Is your agency a vendor or a partner?

In a time of tight deadlines and tighter budgets, it can be tempting to jump right into execution mode when engaging your agency in a new project. After all, you know what you need, you know your audience, and you know your message. But in doing that, are you leaving potential sales on the table?

When you view your agency as a vendor, essentially placing an order for a project, you’ll receive well-executed, technically proficient work. It may even achieve your desired short-term results. But you’ll be missing out on the strategy, critical thinking and passion that you’d benefit from by engaging your agency earlier in the project.

When we receive requests for specific deliverables, whether it’s a 6” x 9” postcard, a 30-second radio spot, or a new website, our first question is “Why?” “What are you trying to accomplish?” “What action do you want your customers to take based on this project?” There may be better ways to reach your goals, and the earlier you involve your agency, the better the end results will be.

Beyond individual projects, your agency can work with you to develop a well-defined annual marketing plan. By developing specific goals, and coordinating your messaging across channels, you’ll increase the power of your messaging, and ensure that your marketing money is well spent.

By treating your agency as a partner, and giving them a place at the table from the beginning, you’re inviting them to dive deep and truly understand your business and your customers. This, combined with their existing marketing knowledge and experience enhances the client-agency relationship. You’ll get strategic thinking, high-level problem solving, new approaches to old problems. They’ll bring new ideas to you, rather than waiting for the next assignment. And because they’re involved from the beginning, they’ll be invested in your success as much as in the quality of the work they’re delivering. This type of client-agency partnership leads to long-term relationships, and better end results.

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