Working with digital agencies presents a challenge for marketing managers. Costs can be difficult to justify – “you want £6,000 to add a button?!” – and there are unique challenges that digital marketing presents such as technical bugs and changes to Google’s way of ranking website. Having worked within agencies and been a third party observer to the relationships; here are two alternating ways to get the most from a digital agency:
Style 1: Sweat your agency
- Constantly threaten to bring a new agency on board
- Refuse to pay invoices
- Dispute everything bypassing your account team on the way and going straight to the MD
- Fail to deliver your requirements on time, but make the agency stick to their commitments
- Shout, scream and kick to get your own way
Style 2: Collaborate with your agency
- Meet them regularly to discuss long-term plans
- Innovate and plan together
- Build a strong relationship with your account director
- Know exactly what your retainer covers
- Motivate and inspire them but always listen to their advice
Style 1 works if you’re the big brand who agencies want to work with. It also works if you’re perceived to have deep pockets. However it will never deliver the best in creativity. Style 2 is the better way and builds a relationship of trust on both sides. By keeping the agency motivated and engaged you can expect to get the best from them. Cost and time estimates should also become more realistic as the agency learns that you deliver on time, pay for good work and are accurate when briefing in projects.
Sadly sometimes digital partners get it wrong, and a Style 2 marketing manager has to resort to Style 1 tactics. If this is the case it’s probably time to find a new agency.