There’s no honeymoon phase at the beginning of a digital marketing engagement. At this stage, expect some back and forth as communication styles fall into place. The faux-pas comes up quite often as a reminder that we’re all individuals connecting as best we can. Ultimately, it’s your investment, it’s your future, and your business. We take that seriously, and any marketing agency should.
If you have questions, ask them. Marketers and specialists are deep in their world. They’re just as anxious to get rolling, and they’re brimming with ideas. That sometimes means that they forget to slow down and make sure you understand what they’re excitedly sharing. To further complicate things, every agency has its own processes. Even if you’ve had extensive experience working with digital marketing agencies, you may be exposed to new ways of doing things.
The most successful partnerships involve open, clear communication. That means giving constructive criticism early and often. There’s no room for ego or hurt feelings in marketing. So don’t worry about what your agency contact is going to feel. A good agency will facilitate back and forth dialogue that may involve sharing constructive criticism.
Pretty early on in your relationship, you’ll be asked to give feedback or approval on deliverables. No matter how confident or experienced your agency is, this is when they’ll be holding their breath wondering how things are going to go. The best way to navigate potential friction is to clearly define what feedback should look like. That’s on your agency. Your role is to try to be open to the parameters you’re given. Sometimes your favorite color will matter. Oftentimes it won’t. On the other hand, your relationship with your clients should never be compromised by your agency’s work.
In order to be successful, your agency needs to know how things have been going so far. You should have a good sense of what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t worked. Your agency will want to dive into how your sales team aligns with your marketing efforts and how you’ve measured success. This is not a “less is more” situation. Most agencies will be happy with you sharing everything you have, from analytics access to documentation of previous marketing strategies.
Powerful digital marketing relationships are built on mutually-agreed-upon goals. Your agency should have a strong understanding of where you want to be next year — and many years down the road. So be prepared to speak to these topics early on in your marketing engagement. Goal setting is a collaborative process. Some goals are explicit, such as a specific number of leads or a specific revenue goal. But you should also be prepared to share your overall business goals, such as growing your team, opening new locations, or developing new lines of service. Marketing can and should support you in all areas of growth.
Expect agility as your marketing relationship progresses. You hired an agency because you value creativity and strategy, but creativity is risky. Trust your agency to take calculated risks, measure the outcomes, and pivot based on the results of creative tests. Meaningful digital marketing is a mix of quick, clever wins, and long-term strategies that set you up for future success.