media_partnersFrom the dawn of time, agencies have worked hand in glove with their media partners.  They are a vital part of how we serve our clients and the relationship we have with them is one we absolutely need to protect.

When you/your client has a strong relationship with your media partners, you get:

  • Added value placement
  • Better pricing
  • Sneak peeks at products, new pubs etc.
  • Opportunities they don’t offer others
  • PR and media coverage (they say they are not related….but come on.  We know better)
  • Better payment terms and grace when things get weird
  • Referrals and recommendations (for PR stories, etc.)

Here are some of the things agencies and clients do to their media partners that damage that critical relationship:

Give them the run-around: Be accessible when they have questions about something you’ve asked them to spec out or prepare.  And don’t ask them for 97 variations of every nuance of a media plan.  Be respectful of their time and expertise.  Ask for what you need — not everything you can possibly think of.

Pull the rug out from under them: I totally understand that changes happen but you need to follow the industry best practices (as cited by 4As, IAB and other agency networks and experts) if you need to modify or worse — cancel a buy.  Here are the standard, acceptable cancellation time-frames.

  • Broadcast:  31+ days if the contract does not specifically forbid any cancellations once the buy is placed, which is often the case. Check your contracts before you even call.
  • Print: 31+ days
  • Digital: 14 days (and honestly — I disagree with IAB on this.  I think 31+ days is much more respectful)
  • Out of home:  61+ days (remember, they are often printing paper etc. and you’re going to be on the hook for that either way)
  • Social: 14 days (because the ads are often not built and loaded into the software by then)

Be a slow pay: When you stretch out your media partners when it comes to payment, they notice.  Your rep will often lose their commission (and then you ask for a favor?) and at every sales meeting, they read the names of the agencies/clients who are behind in their payments.  No one is going to be incentivized to go above and beyond for you if you’re a slow pay.

No matter how large your agency is or how much your client spends — we do our best work when we take care of our clients AND our partners. For most agencies, one of the most valuable alliances you have are with the media partners who help you wow your clients and help your clients connect with more of their audience.  This is NOT a relationship you should abuse or take advantage of in any way.

I know they bring you food and get your clients tickets, etc. but really you should be the one who is showering them with gifts.  They help you be your best for your clients and help your clients put their best foot forward.

Take good care of them in return.