Viewstream CEO quoted on Client Agency Trust


When a company partners with an agency, its leaders are usually seeking to gain exposure in specific markets, generate leads, boost sales, increase profits or all of the above. Working with agency pros who are up on the latest trends and can provide testimonials from their own happy clients can be a huge boon for any business, provided the company is willing to meet their agency partners halfway.

All of the excitement and enthusiasm that exists on both sides when a company starts working on a new campaign with an agency can sometimes lead to critical balls being dropped or essential details being glossed over. To ensure the best results, clients need to understand some important things about the nature of the client-agency relationship. Here, John Assalian and other agency leaders of Forbes Agency Council share what they wish all new clients understood upfront and ways to make this clear at the start of a partnership.

Members of Forbes Agency Council share details about the agency-client relationship that it’s important for new clients to know.

1. We Are Here To Help You

We are not the enemy; you need to trust the decision you made to work with us and let us do our job, which is to make you money through sound strategies. Another thing to remember is that when we give you a goal-based timeline, it’s not to stretch the time; rather, it’s a calculated and researched solution to achieving your goal—and yes, it takes time! The pyramids weren’t built in a day. – Aman Swetta, id8 Media Solutions

2. Mutual Trust Is Essential

The need for trust goes both ways. Agencies need to earn the trust of clients with careful explanations of the process. Clients need to trust that the agency is on their team. Remote work makes this harder, so put some extra time into icebreakers and take advantage of in-person meetings if you can. – John Assalian, Viewstream

3. More Engagement Equals Better Results

The more engaged a client is in the process and the more they take responsibility for getting back to the agency in a timely manner, the better the outcome. Clients need to make themselves available for meetings and reply to emails with well-thought-out responses to questions. Inevitably, if a client is disengaged, the relationship will go sour. – Nancy Marshall, Marshall Communications

4. It Takes Two For A Relationship To Work

Many clients think they hire an agency and then their work is done. It’s actually just beginning. Clients need to invest time in the partnership from day one, and that means having a say in shaping strategy, planning, execution and measurement. This should be made clear verbally and in writing early on in the engagement. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

5. Clearly Defined KPIs Are All That Matters

Having clearly defined key performance indicators is the only thing that matters. While we’ll all know the end goals for return on investment, working quickly to define the KPIs that can move that proverbial needle will be the only thing that matters. Establishing clear communication through on-demand dashboards so that everyone is clear on the current status and expectations will go a long way in an ever-changing industry. – Michael Hubbard, Media Two Interactive

6. We Need You To Give Us Something To Work With

We always stress authenticity, but sometimes trying to bring that authenticity out is like pulling teeth. While we know how to market and grow your brand, we need something to work with, and that has to come from our client. Give us a base, and don’t be afraid to speak up and tell us when you like something and when you don’t. Never be afraid to be creative and think outside the box. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing

7. Hiding Information Helps No One

We are here to help, so please do not hide information. If you are getting more results for leads and sales, that is great! We are not going to charge more based on good results, so share the good news with us. Conversely, if you are not getting results, let us know that too. We can alter digital campaigns quickly—often the same day. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

8. We Get The Leads, You Close The Deals

Our job is to generate qualified leads or results, not to close the deal. Once we pass it on to the client, it’s on them to make it happen. Also, there is no “magic button” we can press to make their site rank higher or their ads convert at a higher percentage. It takes a team of skilled people and many hours of hard work to achieve their results. – David Kley, Web Design and Company

9. We Are Not Mind Readers Or Magicians

We can tell a client how to tell the most effective story and set them up to succeed, but we can’t force a writer to care. Our strongest relationships are those with clients who fully understand the amount of work that goes into getting them into the right place at the right time. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR & Marketing

10. Quality Results Take Time

When engaging in an agency relationship, clients need to understand that the agency wants to deliver quality results, and building the strategy and executing on deliverables takes time. It is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Long-term results generate lasting impact. Agencies must take the time to explain this reasoning, when to expect quick wins, and a time frame for larger-impact projects. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

11. We’re Are All About Results, Not Ego

As a partner, our overarching goal is to drive better results from a strategic marketing standpoint—not to simply agree with whatever our partner brand “thinks” they want. We make this clear from day one as we break down competitive research, opportunity analysis and our strategic approach with the client. We are not about stroking egos; we are about getting results. – Bernard May, National Positions

12. We Need Timely Access To Key Details And Assets

In order for any marketing team to provide quality service, it’s essential to be timely in providing information and details. We have an onboarding system that tends to be a bit exhausting, but it gives us everything we need for the best outcome and results. If a client delays in getting us important details or access to assets, it can heavily impact the timeline. – Logan Rae, Argon Agency

13. Client Approval Deadlines Are Critical

While we build extra time into any approval-based deadline, when a client just ignores it completely, it can cause an issue—whether it is us having to constantly follow up or their projects falling behind. Deadlines are in place to ensure the timely (and cost-effective) delivery of campaigns. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

14. Honesty Is Essential

Be honest with us about everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. The “ugly” is most important. It doesn’t matter what you’ve tried that didn’t work; it matters that you share this information with us so that we can assess it objectively. We’re not here to judge; we’re here to help. And to help, we need all the information—even things that you might not think are important. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B