As a client, hiring an agency to plan, negotiate, buy and execute media to support your brand and help achieve its business goals can be a large but rewarding task.
So now that you’ve hired an agency, what’s next? Which marketing responsibilities does the agency take on, versus the internal client team? What actions must the client take to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities to the agency? What can the agency do to dig deep into the client brand to understand its past, present, and future? And most importantly what is the recipe for a collaborative, successful relationship between the client and agency in this highly competitive industry?
First and foremost, it is important that the client looks at the agency as a partner. Like in any relationship, trust is crucial and without it, even the best media ideas will fall flat. Agency team members are not merely order takers but strategic partners, helping the client achieve its marketing goals. Clients should leverage the varied expertise and resources inside the agency walls. From honing in on a target’s media behaviors, to pulling competitive spend, an agency has access to wide-ranging tools that help build the foundation of an effective media plan and spend the client’s marketing dollars wisely.
Clients should also share the highs and lows of the current state of the brand, areas they would like the brand to excel in, and overall business goals. It is then up to the agency to absorb the past, present and future of the brand and think about it strategically in a media context, the bottom line being: how can media drive the brand’s strategic imperatives? An agency should never replace an internal brand team, but through authenticity and trust, an agency can offer market insights and guidance to enhance the brand team instead.
Second, hiring an agency means that the client will have the ability to surrender some of their marketing responsibilities to the agency. For example, if a client works for a well-known brand or has a successful campaign in market, their inboxes may be flooded with somewhat random, unsolicited media opportunities or proposals. Instead of filtering through the hundreds of emails sent from various vendors across multiple platforms, clients should instruct media vendors to reach out directly to the agency regarding media capabilities. The influx of emails can be quite overwhelming for a client, so the agency is a great source that should be leveraged to analyze the opportunity through a strategic lens. It is up to the agency to look at each media opportunity beyond the task at hand and understand where it fits into the overall marketing and business objectives of the brand.
Finally, hiring an agency also means keeping up with industry trends and innovations. In particular, the digital media landscape is constantly changing with search engine regulations and the evolution of SEM. Both SEO and SEM have become must haves for all corporations who would like to play competitively within the digital space. Agencies have full teams of experts dedicated to uncovering industry trends and keeping up with the latest Google paid search regulations or HTML5 standards. It is the agency’s responsibility to educate the client of the latest marketing trends and technologies. The more educated the client is and the more the trust their agency, the more open they will be to taking risks with their media efforts and dollars.
Hiring a media agency is a big task for a client to take on, but in order to stay competitive in the marketplace, it is a must in today’s media driven world.