Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Should an agency be judged on more than just their results?

New business at a marketing agency can be a funny business sometimes. Part of my pitch always focuses on results as that’s primarily what any business that employs an agency like ours is looking for. But in order to get results, a good working partnership needs to be established. A great client/agency relationship leads to better insight, understanding and most importantly trust.

A call from the senior salesperson at the online marketing agency we use (and that’s quite a unique relationship, an agency using an agency) prompted this particular blog. The salesperson in question asked me to act as a reference site for a new prospect. “It’s all about conversions” he told me. “If you can focus in on that, it should clinch the deal for us”. Now I had no problem at all acting as a reference site or indeed talking to his prospective client about the excellent results they have delivered for us but personally, I rank the relationship I have with our agency as highly as I do the results.

Which led me to the question, if I didn’t get on as well with the staff who work on our account and if they didn’t have a really good understanding of our business, would we still see the results we do?

Well of course the answer is no (I’d be contradicting myself a little if it was yes!) But that led to another question… If we were getting results but they were a pain to work with, would I be looking elsewhere for another agency? And the answer to that question is probably yes. No one wants to work with an agency or indeed an individual with whom they don’t have a good relationship.

If though, the results are good and you feel you get value for money then small misdemeanours can be over-looked sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time but in my experience, it’s how you go about fixing those mistakes that really counts. If done well there is no need for a relationship to suffer and often it can become stronger as a result.

So next time you’re on the hunt for a new agency or a new business manager (like me!) is pitching to you, take a second to look beyond all the ROI metrics and ask yourself the question – “do I like this person and can I work with them?” Hopefully, if it is me in front of you, the answer will be yes!

As always, what do you think? Is it all about getting bangs for your bucks or should a good working relationship be as, if not more, important?

1 comment:

Fr Eoin said...

Without mutual respect, often hard earned, then the relationship cannot and will not stand up to scrutinity, no matter how many "client breakfasts" are bought or suffered. There will always be differences in relationships but hopefully opinions on both sides will be based on a thorough understanding of what each party has to offer in the context of that which is being offered or sought. That is where the respect stems from; dialogue is where it is learned and hopefully understood. That is where EWA excel!

Signed: Eoin Buchanan