5 Tips for good client-agency relationships

5 Tips for good client-agency relationships

Alison Johnston - Internal Operations Director 16th April 2019 Read time 5 minutes

Here at M3.Agency, we are privileged to have built scores of client relationships, some of which span decades. These are relationships that have been nurtured and developed over many years and embody all the fundamentals that clearly evidence a successful client-agency relationship.

But these aren’t relationships any of us here at M3.Agency take for granted, by any means. To form a strong working partnership takes a great deal of invested time and energy from both parties – and it’s most definitely a two-way relationship. If it’s not recognised as so, it will often fall short, resulting in frustration and a sense of ‘drifting along’ with no navigation or focus.

How to create a good agency-client partnership

There’s no great secret to these fundamentals and although there may be times when deadlines and budgets can add pressure to a project or situation, if the fundamentals act as guiding lights, they can work to ensure both parties stay on track - working towards a common goal which can be both commercially and personally rewarding.

As humans, we’re generally all pretty adept at forming and nurturing relationships, and the agency-client methods of connection are no different. In no particular order, here are 5 of our key pointers to aid lasting, mutually-rewarding client-agency relationships.

Collaboration

It’s crucial to embrace collaboration and recognise that it’s multi-faceted – it’s about collaborating effectively – between both client and agency, and also within the teams on both sides. One of the things I love about working in an agency is the breadth of talent, experience and knowledge that surrounds me. Collaboration at agency level is successful when the right levels of experience are brought together – this ensures the client always receives the best advice, they are kept up to date with latest technologies and the most effective solutions are always sought.

Collaboration at client-agency level is what manifests the concept of a partnership. Most clients should recognise the experience, level of thinking and skills an agency brings and the agency should recognise the client’s expertise in their field and understand their evolving need for the agency, in-line with the client’s growth and objectives. Regular assessment of the agency’s role and its ability to adapt to a client’s growing business needs, allows the agency to advise pro-actively and relevantly, and not advise for advising’s sake.

Challenge your own thinking

It’s key to regularly ‘reset’ thinking by keeping an objective fore of mind, or by putting yourself in the position of the end user or audience in the case of a campaign. The danger of being ‘too close’ to something can narrow thinking – on both sides. By client and agency challenging their own thinking, better results are strived for and creativity and inspiration allowed to flourish. This approach often leads to many a ‘light bulb’ moment.

Honesty

A client comes to a marketing agency for their expertise and judgement. A good marketing agency will naturally dig, question and challenge a client’s pre-conceptions. So, it’s ok to voice a warranted, honest opinion, based on that expertise and judgement, in order to advise an alternative or reach a more effective solution. An agency’s purpose isn’t to fall into the routine of being consistently led by a client’s directive – where’s the worth in that to either party? The result of a well-positioned alternative, offered by the agency will usually always add value.

Handled well, an honest approach will help build confidence and…

Respect

It’s within the agency’s remit to appreciate and understand the client circumstance and know that they may have previously had poor marketing services experiences. During the early stages of a new relationship, many clients have told us their reasons for moving away from their incumbent – often due to frustration; for lack of an advisory role or pro-activity or where solutions lacked added-value. It’s important to recognise any client frustrations and pain-points. Alleviating doubts through honesty will build trust which then over time builds respect.

Earlier I mentioned pressures of deadlines and budgets; both are ever present in the world of marketing. Steps can be made to reduce some pressures but frustrations and emotion that may occur from a heightened situation should be acknowledged as passion and regard to just ‘get a good job done’, on both sides. A respectful relationship is a good foundation to weather such minor situations and focusses attention on the common cause at all times.

Communication

The most simple, and for me the most crucial, is regular meaningful communication. It seems obvious, and it is.

It’s key to make time for regular face-to-face meetings and conversation, especially prior to and during the early stages of setting up a relationship or project. Doing so will always result in creative ideas and strategy evolving from investigatory discussions.

During a planning stage, the active project bodies and the regularity of communication should be set out early, so all stakeholders understand the levels of input. And when instigated from the agency side in particular, regular communication simply ensures clients are always kept informed of a project’s progress. Equally, nobody likes nasty surprises, so flagging concerns and issues early on is totally acceptable in order to keep a project on budget and evade risk and potential frustration further down the line.

We’re all about client-agency relationships here at M3.Agency. Most we’re proud to say, start the same way - with a cuppa and a chat.


Related Stories

The importance of evergreen content

Content marketing strategies are imperative to promoting your business. But what is evergreen content, and how can you create it? Find out more today.

14th August 2019 Read time 5 minutes


Your guide to Graphic Design ‘geek speak’

Graphic Designers can sometimes seem to have our own language, and we do sometimes slip into ‘geek speak'. Learn how to decode our language with this simple guide...

30th July 2019 Read time 5 minutes


What does Voice Search mean for marketers?

People are using voice search to find information quicker than ever. We discuss how it fits in within your marketing plan as part of the users buying journey

27th June 2019 Read time 5 minutes


4 ways to increase social media presence

In this ever-increasing modern world of technology, it’s important to ensure that your social media platforms are making an impact. Learn more now.

19th June 2019 Read time 5 minutes


Email Vs Call – Which is better?

When's it best to pick up the phone or send a written email? M3 discuss the pros and cons of both, and how you should communicate with your clients today.

12th June 2019 Read time 5 minutes


How to heat up your summer sales

Looking for ways to heat up your summer sales? From networking events to promotions & competitions, find out the best ways to target that ‘feel good vibe’.

31st May 2019 Read time 5 minutes


How to be an effective account handler

Account handlers play a vital role in client satisfaction. Learn some of the important elements you need to achieve to be an effective account handler now.

8th May 2019 Read time 3 minutes


The revival of Letterpress printing

In an age where computers are readily available - what did we do before them? Learn more about the revival of letterpress printing with help from our guide.

30th April 2019 Read time 5 minutes


What is a brand and why it's vital to your business?

What is a brand? People buy into brands because they believe in the organisation and what they stand for. Learn more on why brand is so important today.

18th April 2019 Read time 3 minutes


5 Tips for good client-agency relationships

Creating a good relationship between client and creative agency is vital to the growth of your business. Learn M3's top tips for agency relationships today.

16th April 2019 Read time 5 minutes


Creating a healthy work-life balance

Work-life balance is vital to any business – not only for your company, but for your clients, too. Find out tips on how to create a work-life balance now.

9th April 2019 Read time 3 minutes


Why choose a full-service agency?

From becoming an integral part of your marketing team to providing multiple services, learn why choosing a full-service agency can help your business today.

1st April 2019 Read time 3 minutes


The importance of high-quality food photography

Our creative team discuss how quality photography can impact your brand. Learn how we created high quality food photography for client, Marston’s, today.

22nd March 2019 Read time 5 minutes


Key Takeaways from Google’s Smart Solutions Summit 2019

From machine learning and automation, learn the key takeaways from Google’s Smart Solutions, as well as what impact this will have on our world of search.

18th March 2019 Read time 5 minutes


Key Content Marketing Trends 2019

As content marketing is becoming increasingly more important, M3.Agency look into the 2019 content marketing trends you should watch out for this year.

6th March 2019 Read time 5 minutes


How Can Online Video Advertising Fit Within A Marketing Mix?

How do you choose the right video advertising for your marketing strategy? Discover more online today from our helpful blog.

26th February 2019 Read time 6 Minutes


Trio of account wins deliver £1.2m travel and leisure boost for Birmingham's M3

A trio of new contract wins has delivered a £1.2m ‘travel’ boost to a leading West Midlands full-service advertising agency. M3, which has offices in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Oxford Circus in London, has been appointed to support the expansion of Affordable Car Hire, Solos Holidays and Long Travel.

12th February 2019 Read time 5 Minutes


What’s your Brexit marketing strategy?

As we enter into 2019 with no clear indication of what Brexit looks like for the UK, many clients and are struggling to understand what impact Brexit is going to have on their business, and the sectors they operate in. I believe marketing teams have a huge role to play in planning and shaping the future of their businesses. There are many different factors that are currently affecting customer confidence and subsequent actions:

6th February 2019 Read time 5 Minutes


Local Search Opportunities for SEO & PPC 2019

When it comes to local searches, businesses with physical locations have a strong advantage compared to online-only businesses. In fact, a study released by Google in November 2018 showed that 61% of shoppers would rather shop with brands that have a physical location than ones that are online only.

19th December 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


M3 builds on £1.5m travel boost by appointing former Holiday Hypermarket creator

One of the leading personalities in the travel market has joined M3 as part of its ambitious plans to double accounts in this sector. The West Midlands full service advertising agency, which has offices in Birmingham, Oxford Circus in London and Wolverhampton, has appointed John Donnelly as Non-Executive Director to build on more than £1.5m of recent contract wins.

3rd December 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


Black Friday Campaigns through the ages

It's that time of year again, no not Christmas (just yet) but the weekend that we all look forward to in the shopping calendar. Yes, I hear you scream Black Friday & Cyber Monday! Well, some of you will.... the rest of us will be turning off the TV & Laptop, hiding under the covers and avoiding making any crazy purchases - or is that just how I feel? I should highlight that statistically I am in the age group that is less likely to embrace the Black Friday phenomenon.

20th November 2018 Read time 6 Minutes


5 Tools I’ve Learnt About Since Joining M3

As someone who has recently joined M3, it was a little intimidating when discovering how much there is to learn in such a fast-paced and forward-thinking industry. It's very much a case of being a sponge and absorbing as much information as you can to learn as much as possible from others. It's also important to be taking the initiative and learning as much as you can by yourself.

2nd November 2018 Read time 3 Minutes


Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder. Or is it?

Ever since Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the earliest known surviving photograph (View from the Window at Le Gras) made with a camera C.1826/7, photographers worldwide have strived to create the perfect image. It was only a matter of years later that the first fake, or manipulated images started to appear.

17th October 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


New Business Strategies & Tactics

Regardless of the type of business you have, getting new customers can be fundamental to the overall success or failure of your company. The first step is to look inward and clearly identify your own USP’s (Unique Selling Points). A SWOT analysis can help you to identify your top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and it should have strong bearing on your business development plan. Knowing where opportunities sit and clearly focusing on them can help you to quickly accelerate towards achieving new business wins

10th October 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


Kinsale Awards

A couple of months ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the design jury at this year’s Kinsale Shark awards. Last week saw them reach their climax. It turned out to be one of the most informative, and inspirational weeks I’ve had. As well as a thoroughly beautiful location, it was brilliantly delivered.

4th October 2018 Read time 3 Minutes


Is Print Still Relevant?

Much is currently being made of the financial pressure in print media occurring at present – editors being made to re-apply for their own jobs, wide-spread redundancies across journalist and photographic roles, enforced pay cuts, and entire production departments being relocated across the other end of the country.

21st September 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Keeping Ahead of the Competition

We all know that to be successful in business, it’s imperative to maintain a healthy competitive advantage in the marketplace. To do this well and improve sales and market share it’s crucial to know and understand your main competitors and their business strategies. Here are some key aspects to focus on, to help you keep ahead of your competition:

14th September 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Nike - Just Do it. The 30th Anniversary ad

A few days ago Nike premiered their new brand ad. It got a few tongues wagging. The ad celebrates the 30th Anniversary of “Just Do It” and features former NHL player Colin Kaepernick who, in 2016, controversially decided to kneel during the American national anthem as a protest against police brutality and racism, which was met with great support but equally huge backlash, including a vehement speech from Donald Trump, who aped his time on ‘The Apprentice’ calling for him to be “Fired” for disrespecting the flag.

11th September 2018 Read time 4 Minutes


How to Build Engagement with Your Social Audiences

Social media is everywhere. If you’re not on it then where’ve you been the past 10 years? Close to half the world’s population (a touch over 3 billion people, up 13% year-on-year!) are on some form of social media. Your sister is on it, your dad, your nan and increasingly more common, so is your pooch. With these vast amounts of users out there, why are you finding it so hard to actually engage with your followers?

6th Septemeber 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


How to Choose the Right Web Design Agency

So, you’ve made the decision you need a new website, but where do you start? Your website is main point of contact with customers and can act as sales representative, education tool and, in some cases, is the first interaction a customer will have with your business – and we all know how important first impressions are! So, it’s vital its done right and portrays the right image for your business.

30th August 2018 Read time 3 Minutes


The Importance of Choosing the Right Font

When you are faced with the minefield of choosing the right font when there are just so many to choose from, how do you choose? And why does it really matter anyway? A typeface can literally make or break a piece of design work, reflecting its own personality into the page.

22nd August 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


Big Noise on the Home Front

Nearly every advertiser would like to see their brand on TV, it looks great and increases brand awareness across a potentially huge audience. But what if you are a local advertiser who needs their marketing budget to cover multiple advertising formats and work just as hard

15th August 2018 Read time 3 Minutes


World Cup 2018 Advertising Campaigns

Just in case you live under a rock, on Mars, or in Glasgow, Rome or Amsterdam, this summer has been dominated by the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Daily office discussions have ranged from waistcoats to VAR, Mbappé to Modrić, predictor pigs

8th August 2018 Read time 4 Minutes


How to Think More Creatively

Can anyone be creative? Creativity is everywhere, you just need open your eyes and look for it. In today’s society we tend to walk around with our heads down, plugged into our digital devices.

1st August 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


The Importance of User Experience in Web Design

User experience – or UX for short – is an integral part of the web design process. It encompasses a variety of factors, including usability, accessibility, performance and design. But the key word here is ‘experience’ – UX is all about how a person feels when they interact with a website.

25th July 2018 Read time 5 Minutes


New Birmingham office and Operations Director for M3

One of the West Midlands’s leading digital marketing specialists has been appointed to lead the expansion of M3, with the aim of delivering £1m of new business.

12th July 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Why Brands Should Look to Use Programmatic Display Advertising

All marketeers understand the importance of using highly targeted marketing to reach the right audiences online, particularly for conversion driving and there’s a range of measurable channels to choose from.

18th July 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


3 Steps to a Stronger Brand Strategy

Tactical versus brand. It can seem like a struggle sometimes. In the blue corner: Hardworking tactical campaigns driving revenue and meeting immediate objectives. In the red corner: Big picture brand thinking about what you actually mean to your audience.

6th July 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Redefining M3.Agency

Defining any brand has its challenges. Defining your own - even more so. It’s as much about soul searching as strategic thinking. Especially when many of your colleagues and senior management have strong, long-standing emotional ties to the business you’re about to utterly redefine.

26th June 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Our Top 5 Key Topics from SearchLeeds 2018

SearchLeeds is the biggest search marketing event in the North and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to see some of the best figures from the search community speaking about what we need to be aware of in our ever changing digital landscape.

18th June 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Birmingham Design Festival: M3.Agency’s top creative findings

This year saw the inauguration of the Birmingham Design Festival. The four day celebration of creative culture saw a series of workshops, seminars, exhibitions, demos and screenings...

15th June 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Three is the magic number for new-look M3 as it lands £650,000 of new accounts

A leading Wolverhampton-based full-service advertising agency is celebrating the launch of its new brand by sealing a hat-trick of client wins.

12th june 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


3, 2, 1…lift off

Our let’s do something launch day. You may have noticed that here at M3, we’ve got a new philosophy: Let’s do something. When we launched this new mantra to our team, we did something pretty special.

12th June 2018 Read time 1 Minute


Small but perfectly formed?

How smaller agencies can make a big difference. It pays to be flexible. Just ask any gymnast or yoga instructor. And in the modern marketing world, the most agile agencies are not always the biggest.

25th May 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


A new Ice Age for West Midland Safari Park

We’ve put on our mittens and filled up a Thermos to create a new low temperature, high action campaign for West Midland Safari Park’s fantastic ICE AGE family attraction.

30th March 2018 Read time 30 Seconds


The golden touch for Solmar Villas

We love winning awards. But we also love it when our clients win them too. And we’ve got everything crossed that Solmar Villas will continue their award-winning streak at the 2018 British Travel Awards.

6th December 2017 Read time 30 Seconds


The art of experience

Making your customers spend more time with you. Your brand is amazing. You’ve got a great product. You offer amazing value. But unless you back that up with the right customer experience, your audience won’t give you a second look.

2nd May 2018 Read time 2 Minutes


Choose the right digital channel for your website

Digital channels work. They’re the main way audiences get to know brands and find the ones they want to spend time (and money) with. But with a sweet, tempting pick ‘n’ mix of channels to choose from, which ones are right for your brand?

19th April 2018 Read time 3 Minutes


Energy with a heart for Co-op

Co-op Energy do power with a difference. They asked us to promote their energy options, but to also show how customers help the community through the Co-op rewards scheme – along with other rewards as a Co-op member.

24th November 2017 Read time 30 Seconds


Marketing made easy-ish

The essentials for talking to your customers. First things first, there’s no magic formula. If any agency tells you there is, make sure there’s a fire extinguisher handy, because their pants will be going up in flames shortly afterwards.

9th March 2017 Read time 2 Minutes