Ahhh confrontation. Can you sense the squirming? The dodging? The evasive excuses that we elicit when we press?

Yes, tough lines of questioning are just that – tough. But when we invest our time, trust, and dollars in marketing, specifically with an agency, it’s safe to say we need to be able to call them on the carpet. In order to form the best professional and personal union, we need to keep an honest dialogue running. So here it goes:

1. You Talk the Talk. Why not Walk the Walk?

Brands should want to work with agencies that practice what they preach. If your agency does not employ a strategic social media presence, a blog, or meaningful content to draw in new business, then they can’t advise you to do the same. We as agencies need to also be cognizant of the fact that clients are pretty savvy. They actually visit your website and assess what you’re doing in terms of content development, call-to-actions and social media.

At Element Three, we have opted to manage “us” as we would any other client. We have a lead generation plan, editorial calendar/blog calendar and custom monthly goals to meet by using the tactics and strategies we promote to our clients. We hear too many clients say they don’t have the time to run an effective marketing campaign. To that we say, “Look at Element Three and how far we’ve come.”

2. Why Don’t You Adjust Marketing in Real Time?

It’s wonderful to feel the sense of accomplishment that completing projects can bring, but is your agency also capitalizing on trends and opportunities in your industry?

Client retention is all about reinforcing our value – beyond the checklists and tasks that we set out to complete. One way to demonstrate added value is to stay up to date on opportunities and trends and then use them to drive results. Newsjacking to create blogs, capitalizing on a news story in order to create a case study or white paper or simply tweeting about an event happening now are just a few examples. Agencies should not only pride themselves on listening to their clients but also to the conversations happening around their clients. From there it’s up to the agency to act proactively, finding ways to quickly and effectively capitalize on these real time opportunities.

3. Do you Truly Get My Audience?

Agencies need to research and develop buyer personas in order to drive campaigns. Every marketing effort will (or should, at least) align with the wants and needs of your buyer personas. Element Three begins client engagements by developing a brand plan, which includes a study of clients and the creation of customer dossiers, so that clients have a solid idea of who they will market to, what motivates them and the concerns and pressures they feel.

This brand plan and the personas developed within are the basis of your ability to create marketing campaigns that work for the audience your agency has identified.

If you want to dig into the topic, Hubspot’s blog about Archaic Marketing is a good place to start. Above all, keep the lines of communication open with your agency; asking the tough questions and believing in the ability to continually improve as partners will go a long way in generating success.

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Tiffany Sauder

Coming from a family whose father never worked for another person his whole life, entrepreneurship ran high in Tiffany Sauder’s household. When the opportunity to take over a small Indianapolis marketing firm was presented to her, she leaped at the chance and has been expanding it ever since. For Tiffany, business is built to grow people – not the other way around – and Element Three exists to fulfill that vision. And as clients and employees grow, so does Element Three itself.

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