I've often thought that It would be particularly interesting to find out exactly how many businesses feel that they work with a design agency that knows them inside out. As with any relationship, it's important to make sure that there's a great deal of communication between the two parties, and whilst a lot of questions will be posed during your first meeting, it will take a bit of time for the businesses to get to know each other and for each to understand exactly how the other likes to work.
Continuity of a relationship
It is always worth keeping track of the number of individuals you meet from within your agency. This might seem like a mute point, but if your account manager changes every few months, then it is probably fair to assume that each of the people you meet don’t know much about your business, the challenges you are facing and what you are trying to achieve. If this is the case, then regardless of the charges, you will not be getting the most out of your agency!
Asking the right questions
As an agency, we know how important relationships are and we often find ourselves asking lots of questions in order to gain a better understanding of what our clients are trying to achieve. When you first commission an agency, you should expect questions which go way beyond the initial brief, but the answers you give help the agency understand the business and place it in a wider context - not just what you plan to achieve in a single campaign, but the goals of your overall marketing strategy.
Recommendations and pushing the boundaries
By understanding your marketing strategy, you can expect your agency to provide key recommendations and proactive advice about how to achieve your wider objectives and hopefully, how you can develop your marketing approach in the most efficient way.
Delivering added value
Any agency that is worth it's salt should have the best interests of it's clients at heart. In this present climate, we're all aware that every penny counts and you should expect you agency to provide useful advice so that you can get the most out of your marketing budget.
A key partner in driving your business forward
Once you have chosen your agency and commissioned them with your first project, you should feel as though you have a key partner which will work with you in order to drive your business forward.
The agency should encourage measurements in order to evaluate ROI (Return On Investment), by combining best practice, a long-term approach and true strategic partnering.