As we change our calendars to 2020 and think about our New Year’s resolutions, oftentimes we have one centered around nurturing or improving our relationships. The same practice can hold true for our work relationships, specifically the one between the client and their marketing firm. A client is seeking a marketing firm that will help deliver the desired results while the marketing firm is looking for a client that trusts them to make the best decisions on their behalf. But how do we get these outcomes?
The first step in building this relationship is to set the goals from the onset. What are the minor and major goals of the business? In the case of a gym, a few things you could look at are enrollments, community awareness and involvement, and retention in both staff and students. Analysis of these things could tell you how happy the employees and students are as well as if you need to update your pricing. Communicating with your marketing firm from the beginning will allow them to set realistic expectations based on what you have said are your time and budget constraints. If your time and budget are more restricted than communicated, it is likely that you will not be satisfied with the end result. Are there other underlying challenges that you are currently facing that might affect your goals? The more complete picture that the marketing firm has of your business, the more effective they can be on your behalf. The firm’s experience should be able to temper your expectations so that realistic goals can be met.
Another building block in the relationship should be clear and consistent communication. Just as clear goal-setting should be established, so should your understanding of the campaign. The marketing firm was hired to make recommendations based on experience and expertise but the client should always ask questions to understand why their business was promoted a certain way. The marketer will have data to back up why a plan was made given it’s proven success and should be happy to share this knowledge. The client knows it’s culture better than anyone and should strive to convey that “feel” to the marketing agency so that the same authenticity comes across in the marketing plans. Clear communication is necessary when discussing deadlines for material such as images and information needed for creating an advertising copy. Otherwise, the project is behind and expectations are already in jeopardy of being met. Finally, make it a priority to keep the lines of communication open between the two and speak up sooner rather than later if an issue is noticed. Ignoring a problem (in any relationship) rarely makes it go away. Schedule a projected date to catch up every month for a “status” check, whether it be in a quick phone call or email.
Lastly, remember that you are partners and every partnership takes time to build trust. Trust is an essential element of any relationship and can be earned or lost every day.