Agencies and Customer Interaction

Even though I’m currently on the agency side of the fence, I love my client side brotheren. After all, it’s only been a few weeks since I made the transition. And since I still feel the love for you client side folks, I’m going to share a dirty little secret. You ready to peek behind the agency curtain? Here is goes…

Marketing agencies that offer to run your blog for you so that you don’t have to spend the time yourself don’t care about you or your customers. Not even a little. If they did, they wouldn’t be offering to run your blog with you.

Your blog should be part of a larger strategy to connect to your consumers. It should be part of a process of opening the kimono, of forming a real, long-term, honest to god relationship with the very people who keep you in business.

Any agency that pitches you on the idea that you don’t need to be involved in that relationship building process is not only short sighted, they’re absolutely clueless when it comes to the larger picture playing out in front of us. Consumer expectations and empowerment are changing in massive ways. They’re seeking more, deeper connections to brands and companies. That’s right, they want a real relationship.

Now think about all the relationships in the rest of your life. Imagine you meet someone attractive at a party. You chat them up over the course of the night, and do the phone number exchange. You arrange a date, show up at the restaraunt, and there’s someone else sitting across the table. You’re confused – you inquire.

You: “Uh… I was supposed to be meeting _____ here. Who are you?”

Stranger: “Oh, don’t mind me, I’m authorized to speak for _____.”

You: “So you’re closely connected to ______?”

Stranger: “No, he just paid me to be here and told me what to say. It’s OK though, it’s more about having the communication than the quality of the communication, right?”

Check please.

My approach to this subject is different – rather than the agency trying to place themselves as the “invaluable middleman”, I believe the agency should be more of a marriage counselor helping the two parties to connect. Lesser agencies fear that doing this will result in them getting less future business. The reality is that if you help your client achieve that kind of success, they will not only want to work with you again, but they’ll be in a position to push the envelope even further. This means more money for you, Mr. Agency Guy.

Clients, please remember that marginal agencies try to make money by looking out for themselves. Great agencies make money by looking out for their clients.