Agency Management

What Your Client Base Wants From Your Agency, But Isn't Asking For

by Ron Ause, August 28, 2015

Reading your client’s mind is an impossible task, especially when you consider the nuanced elements of their individual wants and needs. In reality, most businesses expect marketing firms and advertising agencies to do a bit of everything: from understanding their objectives to creating solutions to problems.

But without a clearly outlined return on investment (ROI), these ideas remain purely conceptual.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for agencies is to set up campaign goals that measure results. In a creative industry that deals with intangible metrics such as creativity and ideas, success can be difficult to measure. While you may have the best creative team and great ideas, if there’s not a quantifiable increase in ROI, then the client may consider your efforts to be all but useless.

To help translate business objectives into measurable goals for your client base, consider the following procedures:

1. Identify the Problems that You Need to Address

Before you begin any campaign, it’s important to establish a baseline.

What did you client hire you to do in the first place? What are the goals of your campaign? Remember, you are a consultant to your clients. Act with authority, but reassure your client that you actually care about their needs. In this regard, it is important to treat each client as an individual entity. Clients want you to care about their business as much as they do.

You need to know what each individual client needs and how to determine how best you can meet that need—or whether you are capable of meeting that need at all.

2. Outline the Requirements that Will Solve Each Problem

Once you have identified the problems that need to be addressed, you should transfer your focus to the necessary requirements. Create a well-defined strategy that outlines the specific resources needed to combat the problem. How are you going to measure success? Make sure you clearly outline your definitions of success and failure, as these will change depending on your campaign’s circumstances.

It’s also important to outline the logistics of your campaign. What is the estimated completion time? How much will it cost to implement your proposed strategy? Clearly defining your campaign’s requirements helps put you and your client on the same page.

3. Determine Possible Barriers to Your Solutions

Unfortunately, not every campaign is perfect. And despite the many strengths of your team, there may be barriers to the execution process.

Below are some common roadblocks:

  • Lack of Tools and Resources
  • Highly Saturated Market
  • Time Constraints
  • Operational Inadequacy

Clearly outlining possible barriers and creating a contingency plan that addresses possible shortages will help prepare your team for the worst. And while the worst may never happen, it’s best to have a response plan in place to help mitigate stress.

4. Take Action

Ultimately, this is the most important step. No matter the size, industry, or budget, all clients want their agencies to be proactive. And while planning and analysis is important, it’s just as crucial to be pragmatic. After all, there’s sometimes not an “ideal solution” for every problem. Instead, it’s often agencies that take the initiative and create their own solutions that produce the best results.

What are some things you wish your clients would tell you?

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About The Author

Ron began a career in the software industry at 13, while working with his father. He's become an expert in job cost and project management for creative teams.

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