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Better clients get better agency work: the checklist

Better clients get better agency work: the checklist

Good clients get good work.

We’ve been repeating that phrase for close to thirty years. We’ve seen it in action during our consulting engagements with hundreds of clients of all sizes and shapes. We’ve seen it in the results of the hundreds of annual 360 reviews we’ve conducted (clients and agencies evaluating each other) in which the clients that are getting the best grades from their agencies also are getting the best work.

In today’s corporate environment, however, it is hard to be a great client. There are incredible demands on marketers’ time, big challenges that need to be faced and great uncertainty. So – how does a marketer become a better client and get better work from their agencies?

Here’s a checklist to get started.

The Better Clients Get Better Work Checklist

Adopt these ten approaches and you will be a better client and get better work from your agencies:

  1. Frame the journey: Have clear goals and strategy for the business & vision for the brand
  2. Brief better: Brief the agency (in writing and meetings) thoroughly
  3. Train: Make sure your teams know how to evaluate the work and give effective feedback
  4. Create proxies: Decision makers can’t be in every meeting, but consistent feedback and guidance is essential to an agency’s success
  5. Root for the agency’s margin and profitability: The best agencies get paid the most, just like the best performers in most industries
  6. Create deep relationships: Top to top calls; constant and effective communication; break bread; get to know the people as people
  7. Painless approval processes: The approval process should be built around what is possible for the agency to deliver great work and the least number of meetings possible that can interrupt good progress
  8. Ensure SOW fidelity: Do not ask for out of SOW work without addressing the agency’s compensation
  9. Be realistic: Be realistic about your goals, budgets, and the time needed to deliver great work
  10. Be kind: Kindness is a super-power that delivers timeless results

Clients that enthusiastically address the above 10 approaches get better work. Try it yourself! And let us know if you’d like to discuss any of these approaches – we’re always happy to jump on a call.

Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Zillow Group, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Ulta Beauty, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve Boehler cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.