Ad Agency Creativity to Cash Flow. What Clients Rate as Important

August 4, 2009


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Ad agencies often do not realize just how important it is to have a full understanding of both the client’s business and personal goals. This often results in wrong or inappropriate ideas and solutions, leading to lost opportunities with both existing and new business clients alike.

Too often I have seen client briefs or new business opportunities come into the agency and everybody immediately jumps straight into the assignment. Everyone forgets to take the time up front, to understand the broader business opportunity and corporate goals. I know that agencies are expected to address and execute against specific strategies, but each one of those is judged and measured against how it contributes to overall company success.

Recently, Click Z held their digital marketing summit in Seattle. Their three guest panelists shared extremely valuable client perspectives about what they look for and expect from a digital agency. The points they raised were refreshing and the issues covered could affect all agencies as they attempt to balance growing the business at the same time as nurturing client relationships.

The fours key insights highlighted by the panelists:

  • Understand the overall business opportunity. Panelists stressed the need for agencies to keep the larger goals in mind.
  • Play well together. Focus on the common good of the company/brand versus competing against one another.
  • Solutions should begin with a business insight. Too often agencies jump right into creative without having any actionable insights on which to base the work.
  • Never get complacent. Sure you did a good job yesterday, but what about tomorrow.

 The importance of understanding the individual client’s personal goals also cannot be over emphasized. Where did they come from? What is their current role and breadth of influence within the company? Who hired them? What is their support base within the company? Are they a turnaround expert charged with turning the brand around? Are they a “shiny” individual where ego and peer perception is of paramount importance?  What are their past achievements and what previous work was created under their leadership?

Answers to questions like these can have a marked influence on your approach to the assignment. So next time, before rushing head long into the specific client opportunity. Why not take a moment to think about the client’s broader business and personal goals and how they might affect your agency approach. I am certain that you will find it is time well spent through a noticeable improvement in your agency new business close ratio.