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Entries Tagged as 'Agency life'

How to be a good agency client

July 1st, 2014 · Agency life, Customers/Clients

How to be a good agency clientI’ve been working in advertising agencies for almost 30 years now and I’ve had the incredible good fortune to work with some amazing clients over the years. Early in my career, before I had the deciding vote on who we’d serve, I also worked with some real jerks.

For most of us in the marketing world, we serve clients (could be an internal department or external, paying clients) and in most cases, we are also someone else’s client (vendor, strategic partner, agency if you’re client side, etc.) as well.

I thought I’d reflect on my life with clients (and being a client) …and share the best practices so we can all be a better client on the next go around. Have you ever wondered how to be a good agency client?

Talk to us about budget: It’s ridiculous how some clients make their agency jump through hoops to guess at the budget. We can’t help you spend your money in the wisest, most effective way possible if we don’t know the boundaries. If you don’t trust us enough to tell us – fire us.

Say thank you in your own way: One of my all-time favorite clients came over one Christmas week and serenaded us with one of her holiday favorites. What an incredible gift – to share something so personal with such affection and heart. I’ll never forget the experience.

Invite us to the party: We can be so much more helpful if you bring us inside. Let us interact with your c-suite, sales team, and customer service reps and be a part of the very early strategy sessions. We bring a very unique and valuable perspective – we’re informed outsiders. We can see with more clarity and less bias but we also know enough to ask the hard but insightful questions.

Trust us: Our job is to make you a rock star. To help you achieve and surpass your company’s goals. We’re on your side. In theory, you selected us to be your partner because you believe we’re good at our work. So trust us. Don’t let your personal bias or preferences lead you in the wrong direction – when we disagree with you, let us explain, from our experience and expertise, why we disagree and be mindful of your mindset. In the end, it’s your money and we’ll do as you ask, but don’t shortchange our desire to being your best ally.

Pay your bills on time: On the other end of the money — pay your bills on time. Odds are we jumped through hoops to hit your deadlines, and now it’s your turn. Don’t put your agency in the position of being your bank. Remember, they’ve incurred costs on your behalf, so don’t hang them out to dry. Everyone hits a tough spot and when that happens, talk to us about it. But don’t leave us in the dark.

Connect with us: We all want to work with people we like. Don’t hide your humanity. Show us your vacation pictures. Tell us your funny weekend story. Reminisce about the old job or the old boss. We don’t have to be best buddies (although it’s nice when that happens) but it’s human nature to work harder for someone you like. So let us get to know you on a personal level.

Celebrate with us: Marketing is usually a a winding road of obstacles and last minute adjustments, done at breakneck speed and involves a bit of risk. When it all comes together, it’s magical. Take time to celebrate with the entire team. Give kudos to the people who often don’t get the lead the team or enjoy the glory. Rewarding everyone with a special dinner or even a bagel break will fire up the team for the next challenge.

The lion’s share of agency owners and employees chose the profession because they love to use their creativity to help clients.

Letting them know you appreciate their efforts and actually helping them help you means you both get more of what will make you happy and successful.

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Want to up your creativity?

October 27th, 2013 · Agency life, Innovation & Creativity

idea_lightbulbNo matter what you do for a living, you need to be creative.  Innovative and fresh thinking are always in demand, whether you’re a cop, a plumber, or a marketing pro.

Unfortunately, on the job, we can’t wait for the muses to strike.  We need to be creative on demand because there are clients, deadlines and projects waiting.

Want to up your creativity?

Having a career that demands creativity every day has forced me to find ways to keep that particular saw sharp.  Here are some of my favorites:

Exercise your brain: My goal is to keep my brain cooking at all times, so if I need to call on it, it’s already fired up.  I love brain teasers, word games like Scrabble, games of strategy and even lumosity.com which is like a brain obstacle course.

Simmering: When I’m stuck or every idea I come up with seems tired and overdone, I tuck the challenge in the back of my mind and let it simmer.  I do other things, concentrate on something else entirely and just let my subconscious work out the knots.

Blood, sweat and tears: Okay, skip the blood and tears part.  But sweating really works.  When we move our bodies, all kinds of endorphins are released.  Those magic chemicals put us in the perfect state to create.

Hang out with creative people: This is not only effective, it’s great fun. Actively look for opportunities to talk to creative people about creative things.  Listen to the language they use, the stories they tell and even how they use their body to enhance their tales.  If you live in Central Iowa, you have the perfect opportunity this Thursday.

The Iowa Creativity Summit is Thursday night from 6 – 8:30.  Come hear from David Burkus, the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.  Check out the event here.  I promise — you’ll get your creative juices flowing for sure!

If you’re like me, your creativity is a tool you rely on.  Like any tool, it’s my job to keep it in tiptop condition so it is ready when I need it.

So how about you — how do you keep your creativity flowing?

 

 

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So you want a career in advertising?

May 21st, 2013 · Agency life, Employees · 3 Comments

I was recently contacted by a college student who asked if he could interview me for one of this classes.  One of the questions he asked is one I get a lot, so I thought I’d share my answer with you here. If you aspire to be in our business — I hope it helps. [Read more...]

The path is never straight

March 24th, 2012 · Agency life, Life · 2 Comments

I receive a lot of mail from readers and many times, they have a question that I can answer here on the blog, so everyone benefit from their initiative. Victoria writes:  I am so interested in marketing but don’t really understand the best path into the business.  I was just wondering if you could tell [Read more...]

Do you take yourself seriously?

October 7th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Innovation & Creativity, Love affair with customers, Passion · 5 Comments

At McLellan Marketing Group, we live by our core beliefs.  One of them is: We take our work seriously.  Ourselves… not so much. Let’s be honest here.  None of us save lives every day.  (Okay, if you actually do… you have my permission to skip this post) Sometimes, I think we need to just get [Read more...]

Recognize yourself in this video?

May 19th, 2011 · Agency life · 7 Comments

If so, shame on you!  Whether you’re the client or the agency guy — you know better. While this is obviously over the top, I think we all know that it hits a little close to home.  The work and the audience deserves better.  (Email subscribers – click here to view video.) McLellan Marketing Group [Read more...]

Stop giving it away

May 17th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Customers/Clients · 44 Comments

….Are you giving away your expertise? “Actually, I get paid to do that.”  I hear this every day in a client’s story as they lament a prospect expecting to get their thinking for free. I say this every day in my own head too.  And, I’m betting you mutter it under your breath as well. And [Read more...]

How do you communicate with your team?

April 28th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Employees · 13 Comments

…How’s your employee communication? We’ve talked before about the importance of recognizing your employees as a very important audience for your business. You need them to all be pulling in the same direction. But like any audience — you have to decide what are your key messages to them — and how do you deliver [Read more...]

Advice for finding that first marketing job

April 6th, 2011 · Agency life, Employees, Life · 26 Comments

How to find that first job It’s spring time, which means the robins, tree buds and soon to be college graduates are all popping up everywhere. I remember how tough it was to find that first job.  Everyone wanted you to have experience but no one wanted to give you that first job…so you’d get [Read more...]

5 ways to stay creative

February 25th, 2011 · Agency life, Innovation & Creativity · 33 Comments

How do you stay creative? You write.  You design.  And most likely, you do it on command.  There’s no waiting for a muse.  You have a deadline. As we talk more and more about content marketing and the power of using our expertise to impact search engines and woo potential clients — we have to [Read more...]