Get the Most out of your Digital Agency by Being a Good Client

By June 4, 2014Uncategorized


Getting the most out of any engagement, whether it be with a digital marketing agency or any other type of company or person, first requires picking a good partner/provider. But the work isn’t over once you’ve chosen one.  Once you enter into any type of engagement where you are the client, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of that engagement. Step One: Be A Good Partner Time for a little self-reflection. Look in the mirror. Are you an asshole? Do you know you’re difficult to work with and secretly enjoy getting a rise out of people or worse, find pleasure in trying to intimidate to get your way? C’mon let’s get serious. Let’s grow up. Digital marketing can be complex. There are a lot of moving parts and success often requires successful navigation across an organization. We need to earn buy-in from other teams like IT, Finance or Compliance. Notice I use the word “earn” in reference to getting buy-in and that also applies to respect. I’ve got over 18 years of working with clients providing digital marketing solutions. I love what I do and the teams I put together are damn awesome. Yet I’m dumbstruck by what we encounter while in cooperation with and service to others. So in this blog will indulge a bit. I’m going to rant about personalities we’ve encountered. If you fit one or, heaven forbid, more than one profile, I suggest a self-check.

5 Types of Clients You DON’T Want to Be

1. The “You’re Lucky to Work with Me” Type of Customer

Our approach is we’re peers and here to collaborate and deliver the most appropriate solution given time, budget and need. We don’t care what’s on your LinkedIn profile (unless it’s incomplete). Our objective helps with the here and now and set up your company up for long-term success. Perhaps we should turn it around and say you Ms Client are lucky to work with us!

2. The “I Can Get It Cheaper Elsewhere” Type of Customer

We are certainly aware of that services are prices vary by geography, skillset, turnaround time and other influences. But there is a reason you are talking to us or have brought us on board. Something isn’t working and you need it to. It is not our intent to take advantage of the situation. Our engagements are in line with other agencies having a similar level of experience. Think of it this way: search engines are open 7/24/365 and never have sick days or close for the weekend. Your website and marketing program must be ready. Would you select a doctor based solely on price?

3. The Slave Driver Type of Customer

You can approach an engagement with a provider of services as a client-vendor relationship or as a partner. There are agencies that will do whatever the client wants. Then there are firms like ours who conduct due diligence, collaborate on defining goals and objectives, develop a plan and work the plan. We are partners not go-fers. We’ve set a project plan in motion and while we expect deviations can happen, we also realize trade-offs may be required. Together we can work on priorities that continue to deliver results.

4. The Screamer Type of Customer

Did you get your way as a child by yelling and crying? Well we’re sorry your parents caved in to your needs like that. It really doesn’t help build character as an adult. Perhaps more important is it shows an inability to handle stressful situations without emotion. The ability to size up a situation and breakdown a problem is a necessity for successfully solving the problem. I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s embarrassing to see an adult lose their cool especially in front of junior members of the project team. What kind of example are you setting?

5. The Mr. Invisible / Captain Chaos Type of Customer

We’re on board and the plan is in motion. Collaboration is happening. Ideas are being shared. Things are going great. It first starts with slowed responses to email. Then meetings may mysteriously “fall off” one’s calendar. Hey…where did the client go? They gone M.I.A. and turned into Mr. Invisible. If you’re lucky there is a capable second in command on the client-side and they can keep things rolling. Watch out for Captain Chaos! Of course a busy executive may need to shift attention to other priorities. That’s expected. What isn’t expected is when on return the exec throws everything that has been rolling along without problem in their absence into chaos. They may get overly involved or extremely nit-picky about issues that everyone else thought were decided. We get it. There’s a need to catch up. But when Mr. Invisible “showed” up, that’s when your #2 should have been briefing you. If you ignored or didn’t set that expectation it’s your fault. I can guarantee you that the string about landing page design is in your in-box…still. We understand we’ve chosen to pursue careers in professional services. There’s a need to communicate and fulfill expectations but it is a two-way street. Collaboration doesn’t happen without communication. And communication doesn’t happen without understanding each other. We only ask that if the situation gets stressful take a moment gather yourself and be professional.

Eric Layland

Author Eric Layland

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