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How to Be a Better Client

(so you get the results you want)

Want better advertising creative? Want it done quicker and more efficiently? Want your production done for less cost? You are right to expect these things from your ad agency, yet is there something you can do to improve your results? Like they say, It takes two to tango. Here's a list of steps you can take to build a solid, more productive relationship with your agency. (Of course, if you are not completely satisfied with the results you're getting from your agency or your in-house group, you should read this article after you give a call to Creative Partners Group!)

Acquiring and working with an advertising agency is as much about a relationship as it is about on-target campaigns. If you feel comfortable with your agency and your agency feels comfortable with you, you're going to see the results you want. In their book, How to Advertise, Kenneth Roman and Jane Maas of Ogilvy & Mather list some ways you as a client can make your ad agency's job easier. Why would you want to make their job easier? Because easier means more efficient, and more efficient means less expensive.

1. Be Enthusiastic
"When you like the advertising, let the creative people know you like it Applause is their staff of life" (p. 152). If you are genuine in your praise, the agency will work that much harder form you.

2. Cultivate Honesty
Be honest with your agency, and let them be honest with you. You aren't creating a mutual admiration society—you're looking for what works. Egos should be set aside in favor of finding the best idea.

3. Be Human
Remember that you're dealing with individuals – not a corporation. Laugh at a funny idea, even if it is off-strategy, or admit you're not sure what will work best.

4. Be Consistent
"Try to set a consistent direction for your agency to follow. Every time you change course, you lose some creative momentum. Tack too often, and you lose the race." (p. 152).

5. Look for the "Big Idea"
When presented with a new ad or design, don't nitpick the details. Go for the jugular first. Is the strategy right? Does it appeal to the right market? Learn to be focused in the creative meetings, and your advertising will reflect this.

6. Make the Agency Feel Responsible
Be a leader, not a dictator. Tell them what you think is wrong and why—not how to fix it.

7. Don't be Afraid to Ask for Great Advertising
Aiming for greatness involves trying new directions—and taking risks. Sure, it's safer to go for singles than home runs. But "playing it safe" isn't always enough to win the game.

8. Keep the Creative People Involved In Your Business
Your ad agency wants to know the latest market shares just as much as you do. Tell them what's happening, good and bad. Sales figures, consumer letters, a crazy idea from your R&D department—all can help.

9. Don't Keep the Creative People From Your Decision Makers
Agency creative people want to receive objectives directly—not filtered through layers. The best work is done in an atmosphere of involvement—not isolation.

10. Care About Being a Client
Creative people do their best work on accounts they like, for clients they like to work with. Good clients. That doesn't necessarily mean easy clients. But, behind all great advertising, there's always a great client.

–Adapted from Kenneth Roman & Jane Maas, How to Advertise (New York, N.Y.; St. Martin's Press

 

 

Newsflash

Your marketing can be twice as effective if you aim it at both right-brained (emotional, aesthetic) and left-brained (logical, sequential) people. The North American population is about evenly divided, so if you use only one approach, half your advertising budget will be wasted.