How well does your agency actually know you?

Does your advertising agency really understand you? I don't mean understanding your customers. Or even your product lines. I mean do they understand the challenges you face in your role as a client-side marketer? Are they still bringing you "advertising" or more holistic solutions that drive sales, engagement, and advocacy?

As brands evolve, they are in desperate need of agency partners that truly understand the challenges they face today and are dedicated to bringing them effective solutions and not just "advertising."

At agencies, we're in the business of bringing these brands to life by illustrating value and creating connections with customers. In many cases, agencies fall short on this objective because they don't understand the real problem at hand. All too often, agencies bring ideas and creative execution to the table, but don't deliver solutions that drive a brand's business growth. All too often the solution is just another campaign.

Why is it so hard to find a true agency partner that understands you? One reason is that while many marketing careers start out on the agency side and then transition to the client-side, the reverse happens far less often. If an agency team only has advertising experience, that is all they know. When you find an agency with a strong client-side background, you may be surprised at the additional value that experience brings to your relationship.

Here are a few of the top advantages that an agency with client-side experience can deliver:

Bridging the strategic gap

Marketing and advertising are not about creative for creative's sake. Rather, they are a means to an end. The ultimate challenge is to design programs or campaigns that help achieve your business objectives and bridge the gap between business and marketing strategy and your connection with consumers. Client-side experience allows an agency to see a fuller picture, not just "cool" ideas.

Budget shouldn't feel like a four-letter word
But, it does at times. The trend seems to be toward an increased amount of money spent on campaigns, with little regard to how an idea connects and extends. Finding ways to deliver ideas in more targeted, efficient ways is vital.

As a client-side marketer, you need a partner that can help maximize the impact of your marketing spend for the greatest business benefit. Inherent to the client-side mindset is increased accountability – demonstrated through measuring results, keeping to a budget, and ultimately, supporting sales efforts. Your agency partner must share that mindset.

The power of collaboration

With tighter budgets, in-house creative teams continue to proliferate. These teams can be great partners in reducing expenses and demand on internal resources. They have the ability to be quick and efficient, and will work hard to stretch the value of your dollar to accomplish your goals.

An agency that doesn't get territorial and can work together with your internal partners and other agencies to achieve a better end result can add significantly to your bottom line.

The art of "selling it in"

Agencies rarely use a filter; inherently we are storytellers and creators. But how do you convince your business and product partners that the solution on the table is the right solution? Client-side experience within your agency partner brings another layer of counsel to help you be more effective in your job, making it easier to meet your goals and ultimately, drive results.

The flip side of that is that agencies are typically incredible at selling. The energy surrounding the pitch of a new idea is infectious. They lure you in. But all too often, agencies fail to deliver on the execution and evolution of those ideas after the initial ‘honeymoon' is over. Winning your business is one thing, building your business is quite a different thing. The perspective that comes with client-side experience is the long-view and the commitment to see an idea through beyond the sale.

Accountability is key

A recent Avidan Strategies survey of clients (mostly CMOs) revealed a grim view of agencies, with 62% saying they view agencies as suppliers. Lack of trust and accountability are two key drivers of that perspective.

Marketing leaders today have an active say in how business challenges are met, not only balancing ROI, but driving to the right outcomes for the company and its businesses.

Agencies have not been as fast to shift their approaches, going beyond the advertising and ensuring the creative they are delivering achieves the right results.

The best of partners

When agencies bring client-side experience to the table we better understand the challenges you face because we've faced them ourselves. We've stood in your shoes, and we know it's all about results, for you and your company. That's how we create great agency partnerships that last.