client relationships

How to Stop Your Client from Shopping Around

Think of the last time you went shopping online. Was it for clothes? Shoes? Maybe even a graphic designer? We live in an age where creative contractors are only a click away. More and more, clients are hiring them for single projects or just a few months at a time. The industry has moved to this project-based model, and partnerships between clients and agencies no longer mean as much as they once did. This trend is anything but surprising, however, considering the way the nature of the work has changed. In the past, advertising agencies did advertising: They created ads and bought space to run those ads. Usually, those media buys were for longer periods of time, and agencies made most of their money off the commissions. To guarantee the agency was paid and the client’s budget was maximized, they had to enter into a long-term contract before any work could be done. Today, agencies are doing much more than advertising. They’re developing strategic sales plans. They’re helping with client retention. They’re fostering brand evolution. These are fee-based projects, which means they don’t depend on media commissions. In the midst of this industry shift, the way your agency sells — or doesn’t sell — its value to clients can make or break your chance for a long-term partnership. Sell Solutions, Not Things When an agency makes the mistake of teaching its clients it sells things rather than solutions, clients begin to think of it as a place to shop for a website, brochure or TV spot – rather than looking to invest in long-term strategic ideas and business solutions. Think about it: People don’t change accountants or attorneys every six months because there is value [...]

How Can Agency Account Managers Build Better Client Relationships

Innovation doesn’t happen when you’re taking orders from a client. It happens when your agency and your client work together to build something groundbreaking and different. And that’s where every agency sets out to be: on the cutting edge of new ideas and trends. Today, thriving agencies aren’t just selling their clients marketing tactics; they’re helping them solve business problems and build better client relationships. The advantages of business savvy So, how can you begin to earn the kind of client relationships you’re looking for? You have to start by earning your clients’ trust and the first people to begin to build that relationship are the ones communicating with them every day: your Account Executives. It’s not enough for your Account Executives to simply be good communicators, though. They also need to prove that they’re good Business Advisors, and that means understanding every aspect of business, from finance to production to distribution. It’s simple: The more an Account Executive understands how business works, the more effectively he can serve his clients’ businesses. Here are a few proven benefits of Account Executives with real, working business knowledge: 1. It allows you to create better, more complex solutions to your clients’ problems. The best account management allows your agency to be a valuable resource for your clients, rather than just a vendor. Having smart, proven business knowledge to back your creative recommendations won’t just help you sell to your current clients. It will also differentiate you from other agencies that are still simply selling “marketing stuff.” 2. It allows you to charge a premium price because you can document the value you deliver. Your Account Executives won’t just run more profitable accounts. They’ll also be able to prove [...]

Client Retention Strategies: Are You About to be Fired?

Client retention strategies are critical in your agency -- especially considering one third of all advertising agency clients expect to change agencies within the next 12 months. Let me rephrase that for you -- one third of all clients are going to FIRE their current agency within the next 12 months.  Do you think that your marketing agency is the exception to this rule? Are you 110% confident that every client you have can't imagine doing business without you? Here are the big reasons clients cite for making the change: A leadership shift within the client (usually at the CMO or Director of Marketing position) Frustrating business results Can't track, monitor or proof any progress The core relationship between the agency and client is strained Agency performance is underwhelming Agency never brings us new/fresh ideas Agency was gung ho to get us, now we're just one of many And the #1 reason among those -- the last one.  They don't feel courted anymore.  They're not your special, most favorite client. So I am point blank asking you: hey advertising agency -- are you about to be fired?  How do you know? Do you have any client retention strategies in place? How do you know if your relationships are at risk?  Here are a couple ideas. Here are a couple of ideas to consider as part of client retention. Ask.  I know it sounds simplistic but when was the last time you had lunch or a drink with a client and just asked for honest feedback?  Don't do it over the phone, over email or for the love of Pete, over a text.  Set up a specific meeting just for this conversation. Give them some feedback on how you [...]