Clients and ad agencies alike long for greater trust in their relationships. And for some very good reasons. Most all marketing and ad agency execs believe that the best work results when clients trust their agency, the agency collaborates well and both parties work at sustaining a lasting relationship. So why doesn’t this happen more often?
In 2014, a major U.S. independent ad agency (RPA) partnered with USA Today to survey senior advertising agency and corporate/brand marketing execs to gain insight on how to strengthen their partnerships. The survey revealed some surprising insights:
- About two-thirds of both agency execs and marketing execs admit they don’t share the same definition of “creativity.” Wow! There’s an obvious need for some honest conversation on both sides. Part of this conversation should center on the creative strategy and its role of providing guidance for the development and assessment of the work. Getting agreement upfront on what the creative should achieve would help everyone involved more accurately judge its merits.
- A major difference exists between the agency side and the marketing side on the issue of speaking freely. A full 88% of marketing execs claim to speak their mind freely, even when uncomfortable. But only a distant 36% of agency execs believe that to be true. This indicates a need within agencies to develop more trust in their clients’ honesty.
- And last, the survey revealed that 76% of agency people felt their clients are afraid to take risks. Again, some honest conversation might help determine a comfortable ratio of risk to reward. One answer might be to pre-test the creative to provide assurance rather than discard a potentially strong idea.
Like all successful relationships, the client/agency partnership requires persistent hard work and honest communication. If we hope to foster lasting relationships and create ads that produce results, that effort is well worth making.