Once you’ve hired an agency, how does that relationship actually develop? After more than fifteen years of success, here’s what Big Leap has learned about the power of the client-agency relationship. 

6 Key Relationship Principles

Relationships are tricky—whether they’re between people or businesses and agencies. But you can nurture an effective agency-client relationship with these core principles. 

  1. Alignment: When working with an agency, you need a designated point of contact (POC). However, you also need the POC’s team aligned on their efforts to work with the agency. It’s much easier to get work done with everyone on board. 
  2. Integration: Integration comes naturally with proper alignment. When this happens, you don’t have to micromanage projects. The agency acts as an interdependent, integrated extension of your team. 
  3. Culture: An ideal client-agency relationship happens when both parties have a similar culture. Cultivate a relationship with a group that shares your values and your best habits. 
  4. Accountability: Accountability drives transparent conversations without either party becoming argumentative. Teams should be willing to talk to the other party if they’re not holding up their end of the bargain.
  5. Complementary Strengths: You don’t need to double up coverage on a job you already do well. A working relationship should match one organization’s strengths to the other’s limitations. 
  6. Communication: Nothing else happens without a foundation of good communication. Listen, give feedback, and use communication tools effectively to keep collaboration open and productive. 

So what is the most critical factor in the agency-client relationship? Creating a healthy dynamic through a candid yet caring approach.

Building Good Relationships

How do you know a relationship will turn out well? It takes the right skill set and behavior from both parties. Here’s what we mean.

3 Skills for Agencies

Good agencies have established processes that keep campaigns—and relationships—on track. These are three skills Big Leap focuses on: 

  1. Establish fluid communication. Fluid communication doesn’t happen on its own. Established processes and checkpoints ensure information exchanges happen at the right times between the right people. This establishes trust and keeps the campaign moving.
  2. Eliminate silos. While agencies often have different teams working on different marketing tactics, those teams shouldn’t be siloed from one another. The best agencies share resources and collaborate across teams.
  3. Don’t overpromise. Realistic expectations are key to any relationship. When it comes to marketing campaigns, right-sized promises show an understanding of the competitive landscape of digital marketing and build trust in the outcomes.

3 Skills for Clients

Clients are the other half of this partnership, and their contributions are just as crucial. Learn from the suggestions of Jared Belsky, CEO and co-founder of digital marketing agency Acadia: 

  1. Manifest curiosity, empathy, and trust. Don’t approach the agency with a combative attitude. They’re here to help! When you communicate with empathy and demonstrate trust in them, they’re more likely to meet your expectations.
  2. Have frequent touchpoints. Working together allows you to form better relationships—and this means actively communicating and collaborating. Frequent touchpoints allow you to develop the project you envision.
  3. Eliminate silos in your own departments. Agencies aren’t the only ones who can silo projects and information. Eliminate your own silos so that everyone, internal and external, has access to the same tools.

A Big Leap Success Story

At Big Leap, we seek clients who recognize the long-term value and compounding nature of digital marketing. Our 6-year relationship with a renowned car rental company is a testament to the values we’ve discussed earlier. With many key stakeholders on the client side, establishing expectations, goals, and relationship dynamics up-front on our end was essential.

In return, they’ve given us trust and transparency. It works! Their industry expertise and our marketing savvy have combined to create results again and again.

car rental company's increase in conversions, traffic share, and SEO position growth

Dealing with Friction

How Long It Takes to See Results from SEO

Friction doesn’t always mean failure. Roadblocks are normal in any new partnership. We encourage you to get familiar with the common friction points and timeline of a campaign before leaving a partnership too soon. 

  • During the first few months, you’ll sort out communication dynamics and define success. 
  • During the first six months, you may grow impatient due to pressure from higher-ups or communication struggles as POC changes occur. 
  • During the first year, you may have to address dips in rankings due to algorithm changes or pivot strategy due to budget cuts. 

You’ll learn as you go. As long as you stay aligned on your goals and communication, a little friction doesn’t need to end a relationship. 

Want to Learn More?

So much goes into the advertising agency and client relationship—and while we wanted to give you the highlights, we can’t cover it all in a blog post this short. 

Learn more in our expanded coverage of the client-agency relationship, with detailed advice and specific insights from industry experts. Through the piece, our CEO will walk you through every step you’ll need to take to form a full, flourishing relationship with your agency.