The marketing business is similar to other industries in that an exchange of time/ideas for money takes place in order for a client to receive service from a provider. If all goes well, a cooperative relationship will be established and everyone is happy. However, we have observed too many agencies that mess up this process and the result, sadly, is deals gone wrong. Since it can often be confusing to discern when exactly things started going downhill, we’d like to provide some counsel in this area. After the dust settles, what can you learn from a broken client/agency relationship? First, we will address some fatal mistakes that will doom the relationship from the start. Then, we offer two abbreviations to help you structure your next client/agency relationship with excellence.
Avoid Fatal Mistakes in Marketing Business Relationships
The first fatal mistake committed in the marketing business is: unclear goal setting. When two parties meet, draw up a contract, and then part ways, each assume they made their goal or purpose clear. In reality, this is often not the case. If goals are not clear or are mismatched, your marketing business and your client may end up working against each other instead of with each other due to a lack of mutual goal comprehension. Connected to unclear goal setting is: a lack of information sharing. If your client wants to bring you on board as part of “the team,” then hold them to it. You each need to give each other the information needed to allow everyone in the equation to succeed. The third fatal mistake is: the breakdown of trust. Once you can’t depend on each other to get the job done, the end of the relationship is quickly approaching.
To review quickly, 3 things to avoid are:
- Unclear Goal Setting
- Lack of Information Sharing
- Breakdown of Trust
The Basic Issues: B.A.N.T.
Once you’ve decided to watch out for the mistakes that can be fatal in the marketing business, you’re ready to address the basics of the client/agency relationship. This following short abbreviation can be very helpful in doing so. B.A.N.T. stands for:
You must solidify these four items before moving forward into a client/agency relationship or contract. First, look at the Budget. Marketing is a valuable asset to any company. You are providing a service and you should certainly get paid adequately for your time and your work. Be clear about how much your services cost and make sure they understand the long-term budgeting impact of hiring you. If they can’t afford what you offer, move on to the next client.
Second, move on to Authority. This may seem like a simple one, but make sure that your contact is a person who has the authority to discuss the company’s marketing needs with you and hire you. Don’t waste your time on long conference calls with or preparing proposals for someone who does not even have that authority.
Third, consider the Needs of the organization. Your client has certain needs and you should assess whether your marketing business can or cannot meet those needs. If the match isn’t right, don’t lie to yourself or your potential client.
Fourth, determine Time. Discover their timeline for hiring you and also for accomplishing their marketing vision. Plan accordingly so that your timeline can match up. Be sure that the client understands that there are no short cuts to be taken or “get on the first page of Google immediately” promises to be made. As long as everyone is on the same page, you should be able to avoid problems with timing issues down the road.
Long-Term Issues: G.P.C.T.
Once the basic foundation of B.A.N.T. is laid, fast forward to the long-term structure of your marketing business relationship. G.P.C.T. stands for:
First, find out the Goals. What is your client thinking? Where do they want to go? Your marketing business can assist them in their journey, but they must have a vision.
Next up are their Plans. As an objective listener, assess whether their goals line up with their plans realistically and then offer them sound marketing advice. Does the marketing platform they are looking for actually fit in with their goals and plans or not?
Now, determine the Challenges. Figure out what challenges may prevent or hinder your client from achieving their goals and plans. Develop solutions for these challenges. Don’t be shy about this aspect…it’s important and your client will appreciate your honesty.
Last, but not least, create Timelines. Clear and defined expectations will often revolve around a timeline for results. Agree on a timeline for meeting goals and work together to accomplish them.
Using B.A.N.T. and G.P.C.T. can help you avoid future client/agency conflict in the future. We hope this short article is valuable to you as you pursue new agency/client relationships and seek to make them the best they can be!