What do client side marketers look for when working with an agency?

Agencies gathered from around the UK today to be part of the BMC’s latest agency meeting: What do client side marketers search for when looking to work with an agency?

The generic feeling from agency members was to gain reassurance that their tactics to win a pitch were coherent with others and in the theme of this month’s venue ‘The Ice Tank’, agencies were told they may be met with an icy reception if they fail to ask the right questions.

The meeting began with talks from four client side marketers starting with Katryna Turner from SE5 Marketing, a seasoned marketing leader from within the professional services industry. Katryna explained the importance of an agency getting to know their client’s business and not just using their pitch as a platform to showcase previous work, as important as this is. Client marketers felt that agencies prepared to invest time and challenge the brief are said to be the most impressionable. Taking time to research the company, asking questions and ultimately being completely honest if your agency isn’t the right fit for the client, will most certainly see relationship longevity.

CMO Vicki Scheele expressed the want to work with agencies that can recommend alternative ways to work, smoothing the process and adding value. It’s important for agencies to understand that although they may be dealing directly with the decision maker, each member of the client’s team will have an opinion of the end result. Selling marketing internally was a particular challenge of Vicki’s in which agencies can have a big role to play. So how can you ease this process?

Brand manager Helen McKenzie was in agreement with Vicki in regards to the importance of knowing the client, business and brief. Expressing her ultimate turnoffs to be: arrogance, belittling the budget which may have been tough work to secure behind the scenes and replication of previous ideas. Fresh forward thinking is key and total honesty as to whether your agency offers a full service or not.

Outsourcing wasn’t frowned upon, however clients stated how vital it is that agencies avoid outsourcing core project areas especially if advertising as full service. Always be transparent about the team your client will be working with. The team they initially meet should be the team they continually liaise with.
Our last client marketer to speak, consultant Dave Fenlon, explained the importance of establishing client goals and was in total agreement with fellow client side marketers.

The most frequent question asked during todays session was what elements are taken into consideration when shortlisting agencies, “what influences the client to choose them?” Undoubtedly this came down to word of mouth and reputation, Client side marketers are keen to hear from their peers before consulting an agency.

Four top tips for agencies:

    • Honest open questioning. Challenge the client’s brief and be honest if the project isn’t for you.
    • Building Relationships. The team you take to the pitch should be the team they continue to work with throughout.
    • Deliver work promised. Don’t promise work that can’t be delivered, this comes back to creating a bad agency reputation.
    • In the pitch process, ALWAYS answer the questions in the brief.

If you’d like to know more about the BMC or becoming a member please email claire_bmc@outlook.com
Claire Sherriff, BMC Marketing Executive