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Top Five Ways To Misuse Your Agency

Top Five Ways To Misuse Your Agency

Top Five Ways To Misuse Your Agency. Ok. I saw that. You just rolled your eyes at my title. And that’s because you’re thinking I’m biased; I work in marketing, for a marketing agency no less. You’re right. And that’s exactly why you should listen up. It takes an insider to point out the biggest mistakes clients make with their marketing firms. Starting with:

1) Waiting Until The Last Minute

The marketplace is always in motion. There will always be rush jobs. Agencies understand that clients are often responding to real-time emergencies. However, the more you plan, the more you get for your marketing dollar. Clients who think great service means forcing their agency to jump through hoops, work nights and weekends and pressure vendors to extend deadlines – are shortchanging themselves. The more time and information your agency has – the more thought and effort they are able to give to your initiative. The less time you give your agency, the less time they’re able to give your account.

2) Mistaking Professional Recommendations For Casual Suggestions.

You wouldn’t tell your contractor how to install a new roof. Why tell your agency how to design a banner ad? When an agency recommends a specific solution, whether it’s a media plan, creative strategy, social media schedule or brand platform – that solution is based on hard-earned, professional expertise. Agency recommendations are shaped by years of experience in a specific discipline, whether that’s design, brand development, writing, web development or media. You can assume the recommended solution has met rigorous criteria, been reviewed, refined and tweaked internally before you ever see it. So while your input and knowledge of your business is essential upfront, second-guessing a headline, logo size, e-blast schedule, etc. is not in your best interest. Your agency’s work is not a rough idea; it’s a well-tuned and painstakingly crafted product. You’re paying for their expertise. Don’t cheat yourself.

3) Choosing Creative Like Wallpaper Borders.

I say this with the utmost respect…it’s not about you. Strong creative is shaped by your brand essence. It is the voice and visual presence of your brand in the marketplace. And that’s not the same as your personal style or preference because you are not your brand and you are not your target audience. Yes –we are all EXPOSED to advertising, marketing messaging and content – but consuming creative is not the same as developing creative. Creative direction, writing, design, art direction, photography, editing are all professional skills. The elements of creative are carefully developed and assembled through a process that is deliberate and exacting. You wouldn’t tell your mechanic where to put your carburetor, why tell your designer where to put your logo.

4) Thinking More Is Better.

It may not be intuitive, but it is absolutely true. In marketing, discipline, and economy in messaging almost always win out. For example, agencies actually prefer to give clients two to three options for larger creative initiatives. It shows the client that the agency has explored multiple ideas and the client’s feedback gives the creative team insight into client preferences. But asking for more than three options is a mistake. Two to three ideas that are equally strong are almost always the maximum. Any more and the concepts become weaker. What’s more, you waste agency time and that’s time taken away from other aspects of your business. The same restraint is necessary when it comes to the number of different messages in a single radio spot or ad, the number of logos on an outdoor board or banner, and the volume of e-blasts sent in a single month. The temptation to “stuff” lots of messaging may be a strong one, but it will only confuse and/or overwhelm and irritate your audience and dilute your marketing effectiveness.

5) Keeping Good News To Yourself.

You have a choice. You can treat your agency like partner and share information, or you can keep your cards close to your chest. Guess which decision gets you more for your money? Clients who choose not to tell the agency about a successful program or initiative may think that’s a good way to keep the agency guessing and on its toes. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you share the wins along with the losses, you provide the critical feedback needed for refinement. The more you make your agency an extension of your business, the greater the return will be on your marketing investment. Help Us Help You. The bottom line is that your agency genuinely wants you to succeed. In fact, they need you to succeed. Their business depends on it. Remember, they’ve worked with loads of other clients, they’ve been tested again and again, and they actually know their stuff. They are invested and passionate about your brand and they’ll give you their all to help you succeed. If you let them.
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