How does the reluctance to ask "Why?" pose dangers to the overall health of the agency-client relationship?
Recently, there have been several industry articles written about the shortcomings of ad agencies when it comes to the needs of the clients they serve. What has been made clear is the need for the agency to shift better and faster from "business as usual" and focus more on being strategic rather than solely creative.
As the principal of a firm that does media planning but doesn't produce creative, I feel we have a unique perspective on this topic. We have to work with creative shops or in-house creative teams but yet oftentimes by the time we're brought into the equation, a strategy (or perhaps sometimes just a course of action that truly lacks strategy) has been laid down for us to follow. That puts us in a position of having to ask "Why?" a lot. While we're used to this, it feels like many others on a media project are not or are uncomfortable with the proposition. But does this hesitation (or ignoring) of asking tough questions really serve the client's best interest in the end?
Why You Don't Ask "Why?"
Why does asking "Why?" feel so difficult...and how does this reluctance pose dangers to the overall health of the agency-client relationship? The answers may be rooted in fear:
Why You Should Push Back
Pushing back on clients (or, frankly, on your own internal teams too), done in a professional and effective manner, can mean the difference between a trusting agency-client relationship and one that's just a contract for services. Help build this trust for these tough-love reasons:
This brave new digital world calls for brave behavior. Are you ready to step up your game?
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A highly driven subject matter expert with a thirst for knowledge, an unbridled sense of curiosity, and a passion to deliver unbiased, simplified information and advice so businesses can make better decisions about how to spend their dollars and resources, multiple award-winning entrepreneur Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is a sole practitioner and digital ad/marketing "gatekeeper." Her 16 years working in, analyzing, and writing about the digital industry make Hollis uniquely qualified to navigate the fast-changing digital landscape. Her client experience includes such verticals as Travel/Tourism/Destination Marketing, Retail & Consumer Brands, Health & Wellness, Hi-Tech, and Higher Education. In 1998, Hollis Thomases founded her first company, Web Ad.vantage, a provider of strategic digital marketing and advertising service solutions for such companies as Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, and Visit Baltimore. Hollis has been an regular expert columnist with Inc.com, and ClickZ and authored the book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, published by John Wiley & Sons. Hollis also frequently speaks at industry conferences and association events.
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