Unlike the scenes we all love in Mad Men where account execs spend the day wining and dining clients and brainstorm sessions are always accompanied by cocktails, enlisting the expertise of an agency is serious business. And like any partnership, the better the communication, the more successful the relationship and the results.
When a company hires an agency to create an advertising campaign, develop and execute a marketing plan, and/or spearhead strategic public relations, utilizing outside experts is an investment of both time and money.
To get the most out of your investment here are five simple rules to follow:
1. Remember to share.
In order to do great work the agency needs to know everything it can about your business and your team. Who knows that information better than you? Take the time to share information about the company, its people, products, services and the customers you are trying to reach. The more information the agency has the better the possibilities are for them to create a compelling campaign and generate positive results.
2. Take time to collaborate.
Collaboration takes sharing one step further and is more on going and proactive. Working closely with your agency’s team and communicating frequently to share ideas and information will provide more opportunities for them to generate positive PR coverage, enhance a current promotional campaign or fine tune your advertising message.
3. Enlist a plan.
You can have a great idea, but if you don’t allow enough time to execute it, it may not work. Outline short and long term goals and deadlines and create a plan on how to implement. Thinking ahead can be the difference between success and failure of a campaign.
4. Don’t be afraid to trust.
You hired experts for a reason, so listen to their ideas and recommendations. That doesn’t mean you must always agree or do what your agency recommends, but have faith that they know what they are talking about and hear them out. The agency is there to help promote your business and they want you to succeed as much as you do.
5. Be willing to take a risk.
Step outside your comfort zone and be willing to try something new. When your agency presents a new logo design, ad campaign or tagline, take time to consider before ruling out something new or different. Your agency is trying to get you noticed and sometimes the best way to do that is by opening your mind to taking more calculated risks.
To be sure your marketing efforts are on track, it is important to sporadically evaluate where things are and how things are going. At the very least, once a year, you and your agency should sit down to discuss progress and results. What were the company’s achievements during the past 12 months? Is the marketing and advertising generating results? Have the company’s objectives been met or are there any changes? Are there problems or complaints on either side? It’s much like a marriage or any significant long standing relationship. You need to recognize what is working and determine what areas need improvement. Making a commitment to clear and consistent communication will only serve to strengthen the team and allow you to prepare for a successful year ahead.