The best client-agency relationships stem from a full marketing partnership, and the best clients get the best work from their agency partners. We believe so strongly in this philosophy that we created our own SelectResources University to teach clients to be the best they can be.
But sometimes, even with regular performance evaluations and best practices in relationship management, things break down. Many factors can strain a relationship—the wrong talent, an absence in thought leadership, poor work, gaps in needed resources or experience, lack of responsiveness, compensation challenges—and some relationships are beyond saving. At SelectResources International, we always begin client dialogue to determine whether the agency relationship can be revived. Reviews can be distracting, taking time and momentum away from efforts to achieve marketplace results. We want to avoid conducting a review whenever a relationship is worth saving.
In these situations we have found that it can be helpful to bring in an objective third party to facilitate a “marriage counseling” process.
We have developed our SRI Relationship Revitalization Program to get clients and their agencies back on the right track.
As a knowledgeable and independent third party, we can effectively bring underlying issues to the surface and elicit the truth. We act as constructive facilitators and catalysts for action. All communication with SRI is totally confidential. We are highly ethical in our approach and are committed to being completely candid, objective and impartial throughout the process. Our goal is to uncover problems that may be draining energy and derailing the effectiveness of a relationship, and then to find solutions that foster a more productive partnership. And by productive, we don’t mean “warm and fuzzy,” either. We mean a working relationship that leads to compelling on-target advertising and marketing communications that deliver marketplace success.
How does it work? Our disciplined approach typically begins with a deep immersion into our clients’ business and situation. The cornerstone is a 360 Degree Client-Agency Relationship Evaluation and Feedback Process that begins when we ask clients to evaluate their agency’s performance. We also get the agency’s take on the client. We know it’s a two way street, and often clients contribute to relationship challenges themselves. The inconsistencies between each partner’s perceptions often lead to the most useful insights for relationship improvement.
In addition to offering new tools and techniques with which to manage the client-agency partnership, we have achieved results that include:
- An overall improvement in the attitudes of the agency team based on greater client appreciation for the agency’s contribution
- A reorganization of the agency team and resources to better service the business
- A more streamlined creative development and review process involving the client earlier and generating a broader exploration of alternatives
- A program designed to keep the agency more involved in the client’s business
- A system ensuring that the agency was more in tune with field marketing thinking
- A restructuring of the client’s advertising review and approval process
- A revised compensation plan based on greater agency accountability
- New product and promotion ideas
- Joint identification of methods for evaluating the effectiveness of advertising